Sudbury man guilty of bomb hoax
A Sudbury man has been convicted of making hoax bomb call which led to Sudbury town centre being closed earlier this year.
A phone call was made to the authorities at lunchtime on January 31 reporting that a suspected bomb had been planted in Barclays Bank in Market Hill.
Shortly afterwards a bank customer alerted staff to an unattended rucksack containing four large batteries taped together and connected with wires to give the appearance of an explosive device, Ipswich Crown Court heard.
The eight second call was later found to have originated from 41-year-old Mark Brett’s phone, but with a different SIM card, while forensic evidence matched his fingerprint to the device and his DNA to the bag.
Brett, of Tudor Road, Sudbury, denied a charge of communicating false information but was convicted by a jury after a two day trial.
He denied a further charge of placing an article, with others, to induce the belief it was likely to explode and was cleared by the jury.
Adjourning the case until tomorrow (Thursday) Judge Emma Peters told Brett’s barrister, Oliver Haswell that the offence crossed the custody threshold.
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The court heard that Brett’s fingerprint was found on the fake explosive device left at the bank.
The 41-year-old acknowledged handling the batteries after finding them on a building site, but told police he discarded them a week before the scare sparked an evacuation and the deployment of an army bomb disposal unit.
Prosecution and defence agree the bag was planted by someone else, as Brett was seen on CCTV at about the same time, accompanied by a third man, opposite the bank.
Brett told police the batteries had been left in the area by builders a year earlier and that he taped them together to create one large power source, but left them out for collection on a wheelie bin before the incident.
The court heard that voice analysis could not conclusively prove the tip-off was made by Brett, who said a friend had used his phone to make a call in a nearby alleyway – a claim supported by CCTV footage.
Experts were also uncertain that Brett’s DNA – found on the rucksack – had not been transferred by a third party from the batteries he acknowledged handling.