Hoaxer is spared jail over threat to blow up Sheffield offices

Crime:Latest news.
Crime:Latest news.

A HOAX bomber who threatened to blow up a Sheffield office walked free from court after magistrates heard he suffered from mental health problems.

James Curtis, of Gaunt Road, Gleadless, called A4E, in Bessemer Road, Attercliffe and left a message on the answering machine.

He said he had planted a bomb which would go off at 9am and stated: “The disabled have rights too.”

But the office was shut when he left the message on Saturday, August 25, at 4am, and was not heard for two days, when staff returned to work and police were called.

Officers traced the call to Curtis and he was arrested, admitting he had left the message.

He told officers he did not like the Government’s Workfare project scheme and blamed A4E.

Curtis said: “I wanted to make life as difficult as possible for them.”

Asked why he had used an Irish code word, he said: “I wanted it to be taken seriously. The Irish used to bomb people.”

Ben Strelley, mitigating at Sheffield Magistrates’ Court yesterday, said his client suffered from depression, anxiety and had been diagnosed with bipolar disorder in 1999.

Shortly before the call, Curtis had sought the help of medics after his condition deteriorated.

Mr Strelley said: “He accepts he has problems and sought help.

“He became manic and his state of mind made him angry. He then made the call and an hour later he realised he had done wrong.”

Magistrates handed Curtis a two-month jail term, suspended for 12 months.