A drunken recluse who threatened to bomb a mosque and who wanted Muslims to “hang in the street”, has today (Wednesday February 5) been jailed for 12 months.
Former warehouseman Nigel Flanaghan, 52, of Wharley Hook, Harlow, had drunk three litres of vodka before he rang 999 from Bush Fair at 4.30pm on January 8 this year. Chelmsford Crown Court heard Flanaghan told the operator in the Essex Police control room he had bullets and “he was going to put a bomb in a mosque”. Richard Stevens, prosecuting, told the court that during the call he referred to the killing of Private Lee Rigby in Woolwich and told the operator: “I want to see Muslims hanging in the street and kick the **** out of them”.
Flanaghan, who claimed he used to be an Army chef, pleaded guilty to communicating false information with intent to cause a false belief that a bomb was present at a location in Harlow. He denied a second offence of religiously aggravated fear of violence and the judge formally entered a not guilty verdict.
The prosecution said uniformed officers arrived at Bush Fair while Flanaghan was still on his mobile talking to the control room. He was taken into custody and repeated his anti-Muslim comments. He said: “I hate all them Muslims. I just want to bomb the *****”. He also stated: “I am gonna bomb all their cars” and “I wanna kill a Muslim”.
Flanaghan told officers he had taken 16 painkillers the night before and on January 8 had drunk up to three litres of vodka. He said he couldn’t remember making the calls or comments. Mr Stevens said: “He apologised for wasting police time and said he doesn’t have a problem with anyone from the Muslim community and doesn’t know why he said what he did. He accepted he was drunk at the time.”
Laura Austin, representing Flanaghan, said in mitigation he had lived a solitary and reclusive life in Harlow for years and drank excessively. “January 8 was not particularly extraordinary until his arrest,” she said. “He goes to a shop to buy a paper, purchases a litre of vodka because he drinks three to three-and-a-half litres a day, he recollects going to get his haircut and after that he has no recollection whatsoever until he wakes, eventually sober, in the police station.” Miss Austin added that police and the security services had checked and Flanaghan had no links to any extremist group.
The court was told the defendant, whose family live in the Bournemouth area, had worked in warehouses until last year when he became unable to work following a road accident.
Flanaghan’s previous convictions include one in July 1993 at Redbridge Magistrates Court for communicating false information causing a bomb hoax. It was targeted at an ex-employer and a pub had to be evacuated. He was jailed for two months.
Jailing Flanaghan for 12 months, judge Anthony Goldstaub told him his actions had been “deplorable”. He said: “You were drunk and you are a person of some eccentricity which was understood by police who didn’t clear the area or search for bombs. They realised that you were behaving like a nutter.”
The judge added: “England is admired throughout the world rightly for the success of its diverse communities, for the tolerance with which diverse cultures and religions are entertained and for the lawful and peaceful way in which disputes and expressions of opinion are dealt with. It’s necessary that these desirable qualities of our society should be preserved and that people who threaten them shall be sentenced in such a way as deters others from following in their footsteps.”