A man who made a hoax bomb call so he could catch the flight he was late for has been jailed.
Jacob Meir Abdellak was running late for his flight from Gatwick to Los Angeles so decided to contact police to report a bomb threat.
The anonymous call at 5.47am on May 11 – received just eight minutes before the Norwegian flight was due to take off – meant it was delayed by 90 minutes.
Investigations revealed that 47-year-old Abdellak, of Amhurst Park, Hackney, London, was significantly late for the flight and became abusive when he was denied boarding by airline staff, who told him to return on another date to rearrange his flight.
Sussex Police said it was later confirmed that the telephone number used to make the hoax call was the same number linked to the librarian’s booking.
Abdellak was arrested at Gatwick Airport on Tuesday 22 May as he attempted to board another flight to the USA and charged with communicating false information regarding a noxious substance likely to create serious risk to human health.
He denied the offence throughout, admitting the telephone number was his but claiming he had lost the SIM card a few days earlier so the call couldn’t have been made by him.
Abdellack finally pleaded guilty on Tuesday, August 14th when a trial was due to start at Lewes Crown Court.
He was jailed for 10 months, as well as being required to pay a £140 victim surcharge.
Gatwick Police Chief Inspector Marc Clothier said the sentence served as a warning that that kind of behaviour will not be tolerated.
He said: “This was a quite ridiculous decision made by Abdellak, who fabricated an extremely serious allegation purely for his own benefit. He was running late for his flight and thought it would be a good idea to call in a hoax bomb, however this turned out to be the worst decision he could have made.
“His actions caused the flight to be delayed, and also caused a level of fear and distress among a number of staff and passengers on board that flight.
“The consequences of making allegations about bombs, guns or similar at densely populated locations such as airports are well documented, and Abdellak’s sentence serves as a warning to others that this sort of behaviour will not be tolerated and offenders will be dealt with robustly.”