Man jailed for communicating false information

06/02/2015

A barrister appeared at Southwark Crown Court today, Friday, 06 February 2015, and was jailed for 12 months for communicating false information.

Michael Shrimpton, aged 57, of Jusons Glebe, Wendover, Aylesbury, was sentenced after being found guilty by a jury, following a 12 day trial in November last year, of two counts of communicating false information.

On handing down the sentence Judge McCreath said: "I must have regard to the very clear risk of disruption which Mr Shrimpton must have recognised when he made the false reports.

"This is a case that cries out for immediate custody, it is impossible for me to suspend the sentence in this case.  However, I am prepared to take a merciful approach."

On 19 April 2012, Shrimpton contacted the office of the Defence Secretary claiming a nuclear warhead had been placed in London, possibly near to a hospital to be detonated at the opening ceremony of the Olympic Games. He claimed that intelligence had been blocked from being passed through official channels because the Germans had infiltrated MI5, MI6 and GCHQ.

The call was suspected to be a hoax, but had to be passed to the Olympic Security Team and the police due to the nature of the threat. Shrimpton then repeated the claim the following day by calling the Aylesbury Conservative Association.

The court heard that Shrimpton is a self-appointed intelligence expert who suggested a sinister German intelligence agency was responsible for this plot to blow up the opening ceremony of the London Olympics.

The court also heard that Shrimpton had come to the attention of various police forces over the years and following the London terrorist attacks in July 2005, he earned himself the official label of  'an Intelligence nuisance.'

He was described by the Prosecution Counsel as an "unrelenting networker, desperate to associate himself with persons in real power and influence, and using any even marginal association with such people to bolster his credibility with other such people."

Adrian Foster, Chief Crown Prosecutor for Thames and Chiltern Crown Prosecution Service (CPS) said: "This case involved the making of two bomb hoaxes on 19 and 20 April 2012 relating to the London 2012 Olympics when preparations for the Games were at an advanced stage.

"During the hoaxes Michael Shrimpton passed extraordinary and dramatic information about a threatened nuclear attack on the Games to senior authority figures.  Although the information passed was outlandish and fanciful, there was a great deal of national tension in the months preceding the Games and it would have been foolish to reject or ignore the threats, especially when made by a professional man.

"Shrimpton is a Barrister with a fascination for politics, the military and intelligence.  The bomb hoaxes were not so much an attempt to cause disruption, but a mechanism to gild his self-constructed reputation as an intelligence expert.  However, the imparting of such false information had the potential to cause enormous disruption, diversion of scarce resources, and wasted public money.

"Shrimpton represented himself during the trial and pleaded not guilty to the offences claiming he acted in good faith to pass on the information from his 'sources' and did so without malice or intent.  However, he was found guilty by a jury on 25 November 2014, of two counts of communicating false information with intent after a two week trial at Southwark Crown Court.

"Due to the hard work and dedication of the prosecution team a just outcome has been achieved and Michael Shrimpton, who is not just a harmless eccentric, but a menace, has today been sentenced accordingly."

Senior investigating officer, Detective Sergeant Andrew Mottau, from the South East Counter Terrorism Unit (SECTU), said: "The nature of such a claim had to be taken very seriously, despite it transpiring to be a hoax.

"This incident could have caused enormous disruption at a time of heightened tension and resulted in the diversion of valuable resources.

"I hope today's sentence serves as a reminder that wasting police time is a serious offence and anyone who does it can expect to be robustly dealt with.

"I would like to thank the large number of witnesses in this case, their support cannot be understated and their testimony was vital in securing this conviction."