Buckingham Palace bomb hoax man sentenced

Khalid Farooq outside court after a previous hearing

Khalid Farooq outside court after a previous hearing

First published in News Bradford Telegraph and Argus: Photograph of the Author by , Crime Reporter

A schizophrenic man who rang Buckingham Palace with a bomb hoax has been given a community order.

Bradford and Keighley Magistrates’ Court was told that 36-year-old Khalid Farooq found the Palace phone number on the internet and rang up.

He spoke to telephonist Margaret Power and said he had planted a bomb.

Prosecutor Paul Ramsey said when Mrs Power asked where he had planted it, Farooq did not answer but seemed to snigger.

Police were alerted but the court heard the telephonist realised immediately it was not a genuine threat.

No emergency services were called out and there was no question of the Palace being evacuated.

Police traced the call to the phone of Farooq, who was known for making nuisance calls to the police. He was arrested at his home in Laisteridge Lane, Great Horton, Bradford, and admitted the offence and apologised.

Mr Ramsey said police were of the opinion the defendant suffered from schizophrenia for which he took medication.

He told police he wanted to scare the person on the end of the phone but never intended to carry out his threat and tried to ring back to apologise.

Farooq had previously pleaded guilty to communicating false information relating to a bomb hoax.

His solicitor, Alan Petherbridge, said his client was an intelligent man, with a degree, who had been struck down by a psychotic illness, which was being managed.

“It was wrong to have made this call, but it is part of his illness,” he said. “He doesn’t wish to have this kind of scenario happen again.”

Mr Petherbridge urged the court to consider a conditional discharge, but District Judge Susan Bouch said the offence was serious enough to warrant a community order Imposing a six-month community order, with a low-level 15-day activity requirement with probation, Mrs Bouch said she had taken into account that Farooq had pleaded guilty straightaway and had admitted the offence to police.

He was also fined £50 with a £60 victim surcharge.

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