Teenager jailed after making bogus bomb threats to hundreds of schools

George Duke-Cohan

George Duke-Cohan. Image: National Crime Agency/PA

Friday, December 7, 2018

A teenager has been jailed for three years after making bogus bomb threats to hundreds of schools.

Nineteen-year-old George Duke-Cohan sent messages warning of a fake bomb to schools in the UK and the United States which triggered evacuations, and sparked an airport security scare by phoning in a fake report about a hijacked aircraft.

The teenager, who was studying IT, first created panic in March this year, when he emailed schools across the UK warning them about an explosive, which resulted in 400 schools being evacuated.

 

 

The emails were sent to a variety of schools including those that cater for children with special educational needs, and they threatened to set off an explosive device if payment was not made.

The teenager was sentenced to one year for the emails sent to schools and two years for the airport security scare, in which he called San Francisco Airport and claimed hijackers had taken over a United Airlines flight from Heathrow to San Francisco.

Judge Richard Foster said that, for the purposes of sentencing, he accepted that Duke-Cohan has autism spectrum disorder.

 

'The scale of what you did was enormous'

The arrest of George Duke-Cohan. Image: National Crime Agency/PA

In his sentencing remarks, he said: "The scale of what you did was enormous.

"Schools were evacuated and, where they were not, those in charge had to take agonising decisions."

Judge Foster added: "I of course accept that the age of 18 is not a magical cliff-edge when young people become mature adults, but the fact remains that it is so often those of a similar age to you who develop extraordinary computer skills which, as with you, can then be abused."