Bomb hoax man jailed for raid

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The Independent Online
A CITY speculator who threatened to blow up a bank unless he was given pounds 25,000 was yesterday jailed for five years. An Old Bailey judge was told Brian McBride, 37, a broker, conceived the plan after losing a fortune on the money markets.

Alan Smith, for the defence, said McBride had risen to become a vice-president of the Wall Street investment bank Dean Whitter Reynolds, but was dismissed in 1986. He ran up debts of pounds 265,000 and was in danger of losing his country house.

On 27 August he went to the National Westminster bank in the Strand, London, and told an official he had pounds 50,000 to invest. He was ushered into an interview room. Mark Gadsden, for the prosecution, said McBride passed a note to the official: 'Her eyes focused on the word Semtex.' He placed a briefcase on the desk, and told her it contained a bomb.

McBride demanded pounds 25,000 in used pounds 10 and pounds 20 notes. The official said she would make the arrangements but told her manager, who alerted the police. The bank was surrounded. The bomb was a fake. He told detectives he had lost vast sums and borrowed pounds 20,000 from a man in Leicestershire who had threatened that he would end up 'as part of a motorway bridge' unless it was repaid.

McBride, of Bombers Cottage, Leigh, Kent, admitted blackmail and placing an article with intent. He asked for a further offence of obtaining pounds 20,000 from a man by deception to be considered.