Good Hope Hospital hoaxer

    A MAN has pleaded guilty to planting a hoax bomb at a hospital – leading to its evacuation and costing the NHS hundreds of thousands of pounds.

    Jeffrey Martin Horne, 43, of Mile Oak, Tamworth, Staffordshire appeared at Birmingham Crown Court today/yesterday (Wednesday) charged with planting a hoax bomb at Good Hope hospital in Sutton Coldfield, Birmingham, in November last year.

    In a five minute hearing Horne, wearing a blue and cream jacket, black tracksuit trousers and black trainers, and walking with the aid of crutches, spoke only to confirm his name and to plead guilty to a charge of placing an article with intent.

    The charge stated that Horne had, on November 21 2010, placed a hoax bomb at Good Hope hospital with the intent to cause others to believe it was a bomb, causing damage and loss of income.

    The closure of the hospital, after the bomb was discovered at around 8am on November 21 the toilets in the accident and emergency department of the hospital.

    The incident cost the NHS GBP218,000 and resulted in hundreds of cancelled appointments and a mass evacuation of the site.

    Hundreds of patients had to be turned away while a bomb disposal team made the package safe.

    The bomb disposal unit carried out a controlled explosion, and confirmed that the package was in fact a hoax after roads around the hospital had been closed.

    The hospital did not re-open unitl the afternoon with ambulances and visitors were unable to reuse the site until 2pm.

    A hospital spokesperson was unavailable for comment today/yesterday (WED) but one hospital worker, who did not wish to be named, said the incident caused ‘complete and utter chaos.’

    She said: “The grief it caused was unbelievable. Accident and Emergency was completely evacuated as well as surrounding wards and ambulances had to be diverted to other hospitals.

    “The knock on effect lasted weeks over with rescheduled operations and appointments.

    “It was a frightening experience for all the staff and patients involved. You have to take those sort of things seriously because you never know if it a real bomb or not.”

    Horne was charged in February and first appeared in Sutton Magistrates court on February 17.

    He was released on conditional bail by Judge Murray Creed until June 22 as Mr Sharn Uddin, defending, requested a pre sentence report was prepared by the probation service.

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