Teenager jailed for spark­ing bomb hoax and hi­jack ter­ror

Daily Express - - Richard & Judy - By Cyril Dixon

THE idea of a job for life is his­tory as to­day’s young work­ers ex­pect to stay in their cur­rent job for just four and a half months, new fig­ures re­vealed yesterday.

Pre­vi­ous gen­er­a­tions ex­pected a job to last for years as they climbed the cor­po­rate lad­der, but 16- to 29-year-olds will stay less than 150 days be­fore mov­ing on.

Hir­ing app Job To­day sur­veyed 2,000 work­ing adults and found un­der­30s of­ten move to get a dif­fer­ent lifestyle, such as be­ing able to work from home or have more flex­i­ble hours. A TEENAGE loner was jailed for three years yesterday for mak­ing bomb hoax threats to hun­dreds of schools af­ter be­ing in­spired by the Columbine High School mas­sacre.

Ge­orge Duke-Co­han, 19, also sparked a transat­lantic air­line hi­jack­ing panic dur­ing a cam­paign of chaos launched from his bed­room.

Duke-Co­han sent threat­en­ing emails to more than 1,700 schools – in­clud­ing Kate Mid­dle­ton’s col­lege Marl­bor­ough – and up­wards of 400 had to be evac­u­ated.

The autis­tic teenager ter­ri­fied school au­thor­i­ties by warn­ing that he wanted to “fol­low in the foot­steps of our two he­roes” from the 1999 US school shoot­ing spree.

Jail­ing him at Lu­ton Crown Court yesterday, Judge Richard Foster, the Recorder of Lu­ton said: “You were play­ing a cat-and-mouse game with the au­thor­i­ties.

“You were play­ing a game for your own per­verted sense of fun in full knowl­edge of the con­se­quences. The scale of what you did was enor­mous.

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

He added: “Your fas­ci­na­tion with com­puter hack­ing and your mo­ti­va­tion of seek­ing no­to­ri­ety is in­dica­tive of your high cul­pa­bil­ity.”

The court heard that IT stu­dent Duke-Co­han first cre­ated panic at Wat­ford Col­lege, Herts, where he was a stu­dent, with a bomb threat which led to 2,500 stu­dents and staff be­ing evac­u­ated. Two months later, he emailed hun­dreds more schools, threat­en­ing to bomb them un­less they paid him dol­lars.

Re­becca Austin, pros­e­cut­ing, said his warn­ings caused “alarm and anx­i­ety”, with one say­ing: “This is a mes­sage to ev­ery­one. We’ve sent in a stu­dent with a bomb.

“The point is when you put the school in lock­down, this stu­dent will set off the bomb and will kill ev­ery stu­dent in the room and maybe the rooms next to it.

“If you try to call the cops we will blow up the de­vice on the spot. Any at­tempt at de­fus­ing it your­self will cause it to ex­plode.”

Po­lice ar­rested him days later, but he was bailed and sent more men­ac­ing mails the fol­low­ing month to schools in­clud­ing Marl­bor­ough

‘You were play­ing a game for your own per­verted sense of fun’

5,000 US Col­lege, Wilts. Ms Austin said it was “clear” the de­fen­dant added “au­then­tic­ity” by men­tion­ing the Columbine out­rage, where two stu­dents shot dead 12 class­mates and one teacher.

Duke-Co­han was ar­rested a sec­ond time, but re­leased on pre-charge bail with con­di­tions that he did not use elec­tronic de­vices.

How­ever he then called San Fran­cisco’s air­port and po­lice force, claim­ing hi­jack­ers planned a “9/11 re­make” on an in­ward-bound United Air­lines flight.

The air­port au­thor­i­ties took the threat se­ri­ously and a full se­cu­rity op­er­a­tion got un­der­way be­fore in­ves­ti­ga­tors were sat­is­fied it was a hoax.

Dressed in a grey jumper with a blue col­lar, Duke-Co­han, of Wat­ford, ad­mit­ted three counts of mak­ing hoax bomb threats.

The judge ac­cepted he has autism spec­trum dis­or­der, but said his ac­tions were not ex­plained by “naivety or a cry for help from a sick per­son”.

Anya Lewis, de­fend­ing, said DukeCo­han, was “vul­ner­a­ble” and “re­morse­ful”.

She added that he had been heav­ily in­flu­enced by the com­puter fan­tasy game Minecraft and was groomed by fel­low play­ers.

Anne McCracken of the CPS said: “His ac­tions and com­plete lack of re­gard for other peo­ple caused wide­spread and un­nec­es­sary worry.”

Duke-Co­han told po­lice hi­jack­ers planned a ‘9/11 re­make’ on a United Air­lines flight

Loner Duke-Co­han ‘sought no­to­ri­ety’

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