Glasgow bomb claim man handed jail sentence

 

A man who claimed to have a bomb in an Italian restaurant, sparking an armed stand-off, has been jailed for more than two years.

Roads around Amarone restaurant in Glasgow were closed and a subway station shut as armed officers were brought in following the incident in February.

Edward Johnston, 38, previously pleaded guilty to speaking to a member of staff at Amarone, intending to make the person falsely believe he had a bomb or something liable to explode or ignite on February 10 this year.

Today, at Glasgow Sheriff Court, Sheriff Alayne Swanson told him that due to the "seriousness" of the offence there was no alternative but to jail him for 28 months.

She said: "This was a significant, serious incident in Glasgow city centre which took place over six hours. Throughout that time a large part of the city centre was cordoned off.

"It severely disrupted many people on a Friday night. Disruption to transport was significant and the cost to the public purse was considerable.

"I've heard most eloquently from your counsel as to your personal circumstances and I note your remorse as expressed in your letter and to your social worker.

"Given the serious nature of this offence, there is no alternative but to impose a custodial sentence."

She also imposed a 12-month supervised release order which will see Johnston, from Whiston, Merseyside, placed under the supervision of a local authority officer once he leaves prison.

A number of roads were closed around the restaurant in Nelson Mandela Place as specialist police negotiators, armed officers and a Royal Navy bomb disposal unit were dispatched to the scene in February.

Buchanan Street subway station was also shut down and travellers were asked to use St Enoch station instead.

Defence advocate Tony Lenehan, defending Johnston, said his client had been through difficult times emotionally and financially in the years running up to the incident.

He suffered from depression and was diagnosed with post-traumatic stress disorder after his partner had to have a termination on medical grounds late in her second pregnancy.

His family moved to Ireland in 2008 but he was laid off from his job and in 2011 moved to Liverpool to work.

Mr Lenehan told the court that by the end of 2011 his client, who has a young son, was living in his car in Liverpool while supporting his family in Ireland.

He said: "He is a man who has been a decent man and has worked hard. He has sought to provide for his family in the midst of misfortune at every turn.

"He is a man who would dearly like to return to that situation as soon as he possibly could.

"The catastrophe for him is his failure to meet his obligations and this removal from his family."

PA