Local Whitworth Man, Gary Barnes, Sentenced to 14 Months Behind Bars For Making False Claims That Bombs Had Been Planted at Tonacliffe Primary School.
A local Whitworth resident, Gary Barnes (25), has been sentenced to 14 months in jail after making several hoax bomb threats to his daughters primary school.
On December 9th 2016, Gary Barnes called police and made false claims that dangerous devices had been left at Tonacliffe Primary School.
These hoax threats caused widespread panic and fear amongst emergency personnel, students and staff. All 320 students and 45 staff members had to be evacuated from the school as the police conducted a thorough search of the premises.
A few days after this event, Mr Barnes called the primary school and informed them that he would be coming to collect his daughter and he would be “armed with a gun”.
When arrested Mr Barnes stated that he made these hoax calls ‘so he could spend more time with his daughter’.
Gary Barnes pleased guilty at at Burnley Magistrates’ Court to four counts making bomb threats and making threatening calls.
When sentenced to prison on Monday 7th August 2017, the court heard from the headmistress of the school (Joanne Heap), who told the court that the actions of the accused has caused mass panic amongst children and staff. She said that the actions of Mr Barnes had caused ‘huge financial implications’ had caused the pupils to miss a day off school and as a result meant that the children also missed the schools nativity play.
Mr Barnes’ solicitor John Didsbury told the court that Gary couldn’t explain why he had made these hoax threats and that his client had been suffering from depression and as such couldn’t appreciate the seriousness of his actions or the consequences that followed.