News

Threatening Tweet costs man £1,000

Ian Grant

A man was found guilty of sending a menacing electronic communication after he tweeted he would blow up an airport.

Former trainee accountant Paul Chambers, 26, told the Doncaster Magistrates Court he sent the tweet to his 600 followers in a moment of frustration after Robin Hood Airport, in South Yorkshire, was closed by snow in January, the Telegraph reported.

Chambers had been planning to visit Belfast to see a woman he had met on Twitter. The tweet read, "Robin Hood Airport is closed. You've got a week and a bit to get your sh-- together, otherwise I'm blowing the airport sky high!"

Off-duty manager Shaun Duffield spotted the tweet while using Twitter's search a few days later. He warned airport security head Steven Armson.

Armson told the court he assessed the threat posed by the message as "non-credible", but had no choice but to pass it on to police Special Branch who arrested Chambers at his workplace.

Chambers told the court he had no idea anyone at the airport would see the tweet. He said it never crossed his mind anyone might take it seriously.

But the judge ruled that the tweet was "of a menacing nature in the context of the times in which we live".

Even though the tweet had no operational effect on the airport, the judge fined Chambers £385 plus a £15 victims surcharge, and ordered him to pay £600 costs. Chambers said he might appeal.


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