Liverpool bomb hoax: David Norris jailed for 16 months

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Media captionDavid Norris's detention after the bomb scare was caught on camera

A man whose fake bomb brought much of Liverpool city centre to a standstill has been jailed.

David Norris, 74, falsely reported a bomb at an office block on Tithebarn Street and claimed similar devices had been left at the city airport and main railway station.

Liverpool Crown Court heard Norris had harboured a decades-long grudge against an insurance firm which had rejected his claim after his boat sank in 1988.

He was jailed for 16 months.

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Image copyright Merseyside Police
Image caption David Norris 'harboured a decades-long grudge'

The court was told Norris, who lives in France, went to the headquarters of Groves, John and Westrup insurance brokers on 8 January - the 28th anniversary of his boat's sinking.

He claimed to have a suspect package which turned out to be an old mobile phone with wires and red flashing lights attached.

He also said accomplices had placed devices at Liverpool Lime Street station and John Lennon Airport.

'Revenge best served cold'

Although the marine insurance company did not believe the device to be real, emergency services were alerted and the office block and neighbouring buildings were evacuated.

When Norris, who had served with the Royal Navy, surrendered he admitted it was a hoax and the all clear was given four hours later.

He pleaded guilty to placing a hoax bomb with intent the following day at Liverpool Magistrates' Court.

Image copyright @Malarkey
Image caption A cordon was placed at Tithebarn Street

At sentencing, Liverpool Crown Court heard Norris made intermittent threats to the firm, which had rejected his £168,000 insurance claim for his sunken boat.

Twelve months before the hoax, he wrote in a letter to the company that "revenge is a dish best served cold".

'Grudge festered'

Mitigating, Rachel Oakdene, described Norris as a "gentle, caring, honourable and principled man" who had only sought to attract national publicity for his perceived misery at the hands of the insurance company.

A medical report concluded he was suffering from persecutory delusion and was truly remorseful for the £36,000 cost to the emergency services and disruption he caused.

Image copyright Chris Sproston
Image caption A photograph taken from a nearby building showed the police activity during the hoax

But the Recorder of Liverpool, Clement Goldstone QC, said Norris was an intelligent man who knew that what he was doing.

He said: "This grudge continued to fester and grow like an untreatable disease. The consequences of your actions were far-reaching.

"You have a deep-seated obsession made worse by your inability to acknowledge it."

Norris was also given an indefinite restraining order preventing him from further harassment of Groves, John and Westrup or its employees.

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