Teen arrested in his bedroom after hoax bomb-threats to UK schools

UK News

A 19-year-old has admitted making bomb threats to thousands of schools that led to more than 400 of them being evacuated.

George Duke-Cohan from Watford also sent mass emails to schools in the UK and US claiming pipe bombs were planted on their premises while he was under investigation.  

At Luton Magistrates’ Court yesterday he admitted making bomb threats to thousands of schools and a United Airlines flight travelling from the UK to San Francisco last month. 

This is the moment George Duke-Cohan was arrested for the third time after making hoax calls and saying an aircraft had been taken over by gunmen  

This is the moment George Duke-Cohan was arrested for the third time after making hoax calls and saying an aircraft had been taken over by gunmen  

This is the moment George Duke-Cohan was arrested for the third time after making hoax calls and saying an aircraft had been taken over by gunmen  

The teenager, from Hertfordshire, pleaded guilty to three counts of hoax bomb threats.

Hundreds of UK schools were evacuated following threats in March, with Duke-Cohan arrested days after the mass hoax. 

But while under investigation in April, he claimed bombs has been placed at both American and British schools.

The fake bomb threats were revealed at the time to be part of a Minecraft gamer feud.

Threatening emails were spoofed to look like they had been sent by a gaming network known as VeltPvP – a Minecraft player-versus-player server.

Up to 24,000 emails were sent to schools across the UK, including the North East, London, Bristol and Humberside.

While on bail for threats made to schools, Duke-Cohan phoned San Francisco Airport and their police officers to claim an explosive was on board. 

Hacker group the Apophis Squad claimed flight UAL 949 was grounded due to their actions in a post on Twitter in August.  

Duke-Cohan pretended to be a worried father when he rang the airport, claiming his daughter was on board the flight.

He told staff that his daughter had contacted him to say gunmen had hijacked the aircraft and that one had a bomb.  

Once it landed in San Francisco, the plane was quarantined as security operatives descended and the 295 passengers were told to remain on board. 

Duke-Cohan (pictured) made hoax threats while under investigation for another set of bomb threats 

Duke-Cohan (pictured) made hoax threats while under investigation for another set of bomb threats 

Duke-Cohan (pictured) made hoax threats while under investigation for another set of bomb threats 

The investigation grounded the aircraft, disrupting other scheduled flights at the airport.  

The National Crime Agency (NCA) arrested Duke-Cohan for the third time at his home on August 31.

Officers recovered electronic devices belonging to him, the use of which was in contravention to the pre-charge bail conditions imposed on him.

He has been remanded in custody and is set to appear at Luton Crown Court on 21 September. 

NCA Senior Investigating Officer Marc Horsfall said: ‘George Duke-Cohan made a series of bomb threats that caused serious worry and inconvenience to thousands of people, not least an international airline. 

‘He carried out these threats hidden behind a computer screen for his own enjoyment, with no consideration for the effect he was having on others. 

‘Despite being arrested and having conditions imposed restricting his use of technology, he persistently broke those conditions to continue his wave of violent threats. 

‘Law enforcement take such offences extremely seriously. This investigation proves that operating online does not offer offenders anonymity. We will identify you and you will be brought before the courts.’

 

 


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