Bomb hoaxer threatened to firebomb Blackburn shop

First published in Blackburn, Darwen, Hyndburn, Ribble Valley

A BOMB hoaxer who made over a dozen calls to police and also terrified a Blackburn shopkeeper has been jailed for more than two years.

Jason Byrne initially contacted Lancashire Police to claim that a device had been left at a car park in Jobstown, near Dublin. The caller had a strong Irish accent and in a subsequent threat, said the bomb was in the toilets.

After that, he made fifteen calls to Lancashire Police in a period of an hour and a quarter. In those messages he spoke of bombs being situated in a police station, shop and even every bar in Dublin.

In a separate incident, he threatened a woman working at a shop in Audley Range, saying he would kill her by stabbing and also firebomb the premises.

Byrne, 39, from Rathfilly, County Carlow in Eire, was given a total of 28 months prison by a judge at Preston Crown Court. He had admitted six offences of communicating false information with intent and one offence of making a threat to kill.

The fake bomb calls occured in June. He called Lancashire Police and as a result they worked with the Irish Garda to investigate the matter.

Mark Lamberty, prosecuting, said enquiries were extremely time consuming as the authorities had to take every threat of a bomb very seriously. Overall the calls had been made on June 24/25.

Also on June 25 there was an incident at a general store on Audley Range, Blackburn. The defendant had been an intermittent visitor before, but on that morning he ended up threatening a woman, saying the next time he saw her he would stab her, kill her and that he would firebomb the shop.

He was detained at the scene. The woman has since been frightened that Byrne would return to the shop.

Mark Stephenson, defending, said at the time of the offences, Byrne had been in a heightened level of stress, fearing for his safety. He had started drinking and smoking cannabis and mixed that with a cocktail of cocaine.

"He was fearing for his safety and that of his family at home. He 'cracked', that's the best way of putting it.

"He was drinking, had not slept and was on a ragged edge. He had real fears that other people seemed to be harassing him and haunting him from across the water.

"He is genuinely remorseful for what happened. He wishes to apologise to the court, the police, the garda and to anyone who was inconvenienced.”

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