Sunday, 16 December, 2018

Teenager gets three years after sending hoax emails to schools in Oldham

BOGUS George Duke-Cohan 19 sparked panic when he emailed bomb threats to 1,700 UK schools. Credit National Crime Agency  PA Wire BOGUS George Duke-Cohan 19 sparked panic when he emailed bomb threats to 1,700 UK schools. Credit National Crime Agency PA Wire
Jeannette Daniel | 08 December, 2018, 08:48

In one of the calls, Duke-Cohan pretended to be a father who had received a call from his daughter on the flight, saying the man behind her had a gun to her back.

George Duke-Cohan, 19, caused a massive uproar earlier this year after communicating a series of bomb threats against 1,700 schools, colleges and universities across the United Kingdom.

It followed an investigation by the National Crime Agency (NCA).

George Duke-Cohan twice targeted schools in the United Kingdom and U.S. with hoax messages that triggered evacuations, before phoning in a fake report of a hijacked aircraft while under investigation.

His Honour Judge Richard Foster, sentencing, said that police investigating the bomb hoaxes had also found a Discord server on which Duke-Cohan used the handles "geor", "Trident" and "Plexit".

He began playing the game Minecraft and got validation from the people he met online.

Schools in Stotfold and Dunstable were among those targetted by George Duke-Cohan.

His defence barrister said psychology experts had described Duke-Cohen as very immature, but the prosecution said he craved attention from his followers on social media.

He had no previous convictions and lived with his mother and sister, but was linked to a cyber-hacker group on Twitter calling itself the Apophis Squad.

He sent the bomb threats in March and was arrested just days later.

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

More than 400 schools were evacuated as a result, according to the National Crime Agency (NCA).

A teenager has been jailed for three years for making hoax bomb threats to hundreds of schools and a transatlantic flight.

And the teenager emailed Marlborough College - the school attended by the Duchess of Cambridge - referring to the Columbine High School shooting. Duke-Cohan and other Apophis Squad members also attacked the free email service Protonmail, even as all of them continued to use their Protonmail accounts to communicate about the attacks.

He was arrested for a second time and released on bail with conditions that he did not use electronic devices.

Making calls to both San Francisco Airport and its bureau police, he claimed there was a bomb on board flight UAL949, which was travelling from Heathrow to San Francisco with 295 passengers. That flight, which had nearly 300 passengers on board, was later quarantined in San Francisco pending a full security check.

A tweet sent after the plane landed included the words "9/11 remake".

The 19-year-old, of Watford, contacted Avonbourne Trust and St Martin's in Bournemouth, as well as Lytchett Minster School in Poole, in March.

For sentencing purposes, the judge accepted a forensic psychiatrist's report which suggested that Duke-Cohan suffers from an autism spectrum disorder, commenting: "T$3 o say that this is an excuse for what you have done is an insult to the many thousands of sufferers who lead law abiding lives".

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