Twitter bomb threat joke man faces possible jail sentence
No laughing matter
Updated A Twitter user who posted a "joke" bomb threat against a UK airport could be jailed after pleading guilty to sending a menacing message.
Paul Chambers, 26, of Balby, Doncaster, admitted posting an ill-considered message onto Twitter about Robin Hood Airport, South Yorkshire, on 6 January after the airport closed as a result of unusually heavy snow, The Independent reports. Chambers, who was due to fly over to Ireland around a week later, wrote:
Crap! Robin Hood Airport is closed. You've got a week and a bit to get your shit together otherwise I'm blowing the airport sky high!
The message was reported to the authorities, who treated it as a threat and called in the police. Officers from South Yorkshire police arrested and later charged Chambers "with sending... a message that was grossly offensive or of an indecent, obscene or menacing character". Police confiscated his iPhone, laptop and home computer.
Rob Desira, prosecuting, told Doncaster magistrates' court: "He [Chambers] admitted posting the message into the public domain but never intended the message to be received by the airport or for them to take it seriously."
Desira added that the message had no material impact on the airport, the BBC adds.
District Judge Jonathan Bennett adjourned the case for reports on Chambers' circumstances, standard practice in UK court cases. Chambers was granted unconditional bail but warned that a custodial sentence may be imposed at a sentencing hearing, scheduled for 12 March.
Chambers has already been suspended from work. However reports in El Reg in elsewhere that Robin Hood Airport has banned him for life are untrue. The matter has been left to the courts. ®