A NAIL bomb hoaxer sparked a huge security alert in Manchester city centre in the hope of being interviewed by Piers Morgan.
Thanasis Joel, 27, wrote a letter to the Good Morning Britain presenter saying: “By the time time you get this, you will hear of me.”
Thanasis Joel made a series of fake bombs before planting one and taking two others into Manchester city centre[/caption]
The alert sparked the evacuation of part of Manchester city centre[/caption]
He then planted one fake bomb at a library in Oldham, Greater Manchester, before taking two others into the heart of Manchester on May 3.
Joel then approached a policeman in the city’s Piccadilly Gardens area and said he had two bombs in his rucksack and had left another in the library nine miles away.
The hoaxer was wearing a white T-shirt with the names of mass murderers written in black marker pen on the front and was arrested at the scene.
Police found a letter written to the TV star as they searched him.
It read: “Hello Piers. By the time you get this letter, you will hear of me in the news for what I am about to do.
“I have mental problems but we are let down by the NHS and the government. I have been hearing voices on and off for a year telling me to kill people so I am doing this to see if the voices will go away.
Hello Piers. By the time you get this letter, you will hear of me in the news for what I am about to do
Letter by Thanasis Joel
“I will make fake bombs and put them in Manchester. Long story – I want you to come and see me and do an interview with me for TV like you do in the USA.
“I don’t want money, I just want to tell my story. Don’t know where I will be. Find me. I will be in prison or mental hospital where I need to be.”
He sparked a major evacuation of the area as army bomb disposal teams carried out on a controlled explosion on the device at Oldham before making safe the other two in Manchester.
It was later discovered the fake bombs were made up of jam jars filled with nails and wires with watches placed on top.
Joel from Hollinwood, Oldham, pleaded guilty to placing an article with intent to cause fear, causing a public nuisance, having a bladed article and possession of a firearm at Manchester Minshull Street Crown Court.
He faces up to seven years jail.
OFFICER ‘PETRIFIED’ BY HOAX
Prosecuting, Vanessa Thomson said: “The defendant asked the officer if they could go somewhere quiet and then said: ‘I’ve done something really bad – it’s the voices in my head, they make me, there is a hammer and knife in my bag’. He then added he had fake nail bombs in his possession.
“All surrounding business premises and residential properties, retail and food outlets were evacuated and police said it took a significant amount of time to complete the exercise and make the area safe.
“As a consequence of the public alarm, other calls were received regarding suspect packages. The fear of terror attacks had increased following the Arena attack and the task of ensuring public safety was paramount.”
In a statement one experienced PC said: ”I’ve dealt with a wide range of incidents in my career but I was rather petrified by this ordeal. It was a judgement call opening the bag to check.
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Police found pictures of the fake bombs on Joel’s mobile phone plus an image of him holding the BB Gun, the marked T-shirt and the Lucozade bottles next to a petrol can and a lighter. He refused to respond to any questions in interview.
In mitigation defence counsel Carl Hargan said: “He was suffering from mental health difficulties and his remorse is genuine in this case.
“He cannot believe what he has done and he cannot believe that is him. He appreciates the fear that must have been caused and he is struggling to deal with the impact and the fact that it was him who caused it.”
Joel pleaded guilty to placing an article with intent to cause fear[/caption]
Police found a letter written by the hoaxer to Piers Morgan[/caption]