A TEENAGER who was inspired by the Columbine High School massacre has been jailed for three years after he sent bomb hoaxes to hundreds of schools around the UK - including York and North Yorkshire - and caused a security scare at an American airport.

George Duke-Cohan, 19, was arrested in March following bomb threats which led to more than 400 schools being evacuated and while under investigation for that crime, sent emails to schools around the UK and US claiming pipe bombs had been planted on the premises.

Schools affected in York included Our Lady Queen of Martyrs RC Primary School in Hamilton Drive and Hempland Primary School, where school bags, coats and lunch bags were searched. In April, North Yorkshire Police confirmed schools in the region had been affected by the second offence.


North Yorkshire Police worked with the National Crime Agency who found Duke-Cohan made bomb threats to a United Airlines flight travelling from the UK causing the aircraft, part of the airport and 295 passengers to be quarantined when it landed in San Francisco.

In a call to the police airport bureau, IT student Duke-Cohan claimed to be the father of a woman on board a flight which was being hijacked.

He told the call-handler: "She was crying, she said they were holding them hostage and that they were getting pushed to the back of the plane and one of them had a bomb.

"It just cut out, it dropped. And then I called London Heathrow, they said that they were gonna pass the information on. I've been waiting to hear something back."


Duke-Cohan, from Watford, Hertfordshire, was arrested by NCA officers for the third time, and admitted three counts of making hoax bomb threats at Luton Magistrates' Court in September.

Prosecutor Rebecca Austin said he sent emails to more than 1,700 schools in the UK between March 16 and 19 this year, threatening to set off an explosive device if payment was not made.

One email said: "This is a message to everyone. We've sent in a student with a bomb.

"The bomb is set to go off in three hours' time. If you do not send 5,000 dollars USD to [EMAIL ADDRESS]. If you do not send the money, we will blow up the device.

"If you try to call the cops we will blow up the device on the spot. Any attempt at defusing it yourself will cause it to explode."

Another email said: "We follow in the footsteps of our two heroes who died in the Columbine High School shooting."


Judge Richard Foster, Recorder of Luton, said: "You knew exactly what you were doing and why you were doing it, and you knew full well the havoc that would follow.

"You were playing a cat-and-mouse game with the authorities.

"You were playing a game for your own perverted sense of fun in full knowledge of the consequences."

In his sentencing remarks, the judge added: "The scale of what you did was enormous.

"Schools were evacuated and, where they were not, those in charge had to take agonising decisions.

"The passengers and crew on that flight on 9th August must have been terrified when their plane was taken to a quarantined area, and, apart from the financial cost, the onward travelling plans and connecting flights would have been in disarray."

The judge said that, for the purposes of sentencing, he accepted that Duke-Cohan has autism spectrum disorder, and sentenced him to one year for the emails sent to schools and two years for the airport security scare.