Man jailed for hoax bomb plane threat


People who make hoax bomb threats while on board an aircraft can expect to face serious consequences, said CPS East of England Senior District Crown Prosecutor Punam Malhan after Alan Patey was sentenced today (30 April 2014) at Chelmsford Crown Court.

Patey, 50, had earlier pleaded guilty to communicating false information during the flight of a Sri Lankan Airlines plane from Colombo, the capital of Sri Lanka, to London Heathrow. After the alarm was raised, the plane was diverted to Stansted Airport, Essex, on 20 September 2013.

Ms Malhan said: "Patey told a member of the crew that there was a device on board the aircraft. Fortunately this was proved not to be the case but airlines have to take all such threats seriously.

"Those who make this kind of threat on a plane in flight, whether they are genuine or not, can expect to face the consequences.

"People have a right to feel safe on board and to arrive at their destination without alarms of this nature and Patey's threat was overheard by some of the passengers, who must have been very frightened by his words.

"This was an aircraft with 265 people on board and given the threat was made in person while in flight, we felt the public interest required a prosecution."

Notes to Editors

1. Details of the charge:

On 20/09/2013, within the jurisdiction of the Central Criminal Court, communicated to Sudheera Dahanyake information which you knew or believed to be false, with the intention of inducing in that person or any other person a false belief that a thing liable to explode or ignite was present in the aircraft hold

Contrary to Section 51(2) and (4) of the Criminal Law Act 1977.

2. Maximum sentence at Crown Court is seven years.