London

Man jailed over Gatwick bomb hoax

Jacob Meir Abdellak Image copyright Sussex Police
Image caption Jacob Meir Abdellak, from Hackney, called police eight minutes before his flight was due to take off

A passenger who called in a bomb hoax in order to delay his flight has been jailed.

Jacob Meir Abdellak rang police eight minutes before the plane was due to leave Gatwick Airport for Los Angeles on 11 May.

The phone number used to make the call was the same one Abdellak used to book his flight, Sussex Police said.

He admitted a false information charge at Lewes Crown Court on Tuesday and was sentenced to 10 months.

Abdellak, from Hackney in east London, made the anonymous call at 05:47 BST, delaying take-off by 90 minutes.

Inquiries revealed the 47-year-old had been abusive towards airline employees when they did not allow him to board as a result of being late for the flight.

He was told to return on another date to rearrange his flight, the force said.

'Ridiculous'

The librarian was arrested at Gatwick 11 days later on 22 May as he attempted to board another flight to the United States.

The French national admitted the telephone number used to make the hoax call was his, but claimed he could not have made the call as he had lost the Sim card days earlier.

Abdellak previously pleaded not guilty to the charge of communicating false information regarding a noxious substance.

But he changed his plea on the day the trial was due to start and was ordered to pay a £140 victim surcharge as well as serving his jail term.

Gatwick Police Ch Insp Marc Clothier said Abdellak's actions were "ridiculous".

"He was running late for his flight and thought it would be a good idea to call in a hoax bomb. This turned out to be the worst decision he could have made.

"His actions caused a level of fear and distress among a number of staff and passengers on board that flight."

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