Teenage bomb hoaxer jailed af­ter claims he was ‘groomed’

The Daily Telegraph - - News - By Mike Wright

A BOMB hoaxer who forced 400 schools to be evac­u­ated and grounded a flight claimed he was groomed by hack­ers while play­ing on­line games.

Ge­orge Duke-co­han, 19, was jailed for three years yesterday for send­ing thou­sands of threats from his bed­room.

Anya Lewis, de­fend­ing, said he was “groomed” and taught to be a hacker af­ter play­ing Minecraft on­line. His of­fences were mo­ti­vated by a de­sire for “no­to­ri­ety” in the hack­ing com­mu­nity.

Duke-co­han, of Wat­ford, pleaded guilty at Lu­ton Crown Court to three of­fences of mak­ing bomb hoax threats.

He was ex­pelled in 2017 by West Herts Col­lege, where he stud­ied IT, af­ter he hacked the web­site and made a bomb threat that led to an evac­u­a­tion.

Then, in March this year, he sent more than 1,700 emails to schools, col­leges and nurs­eries, threat­en­ing to set off bombs un­less money was paid and spark­ing scores of evac­u­a­tions.

Duke-co­han was soon ar­rested, but made a fresh wave of threats while on bail and was ar­rested and bailed again.

In Au­gust, he rang San Fran­cisco air­port, pos­ing as a par­ent, and claimed his daugh­ter had called from an in­bound flight from Heathrow to say the plane had been hi­jacked. The flight was grounded af­ter land­ing and searched.

Judge Richard Foster told Duke-co­han he had know­ingly caused havoc.

From his bed­room, Ge­orge Duke-co­han threat­ened schools with bombs un­less money was paid

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