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Last Updated: Friday, 28 September 2007, 12:58 GMT 13:58 UK
Bomb hoax man 'wanted time off'
Stewart Monk
Stewart Monk has a previous conviction for planting fake bombs
A man who made hoax calls about bombs at railway stations in an attempt to get time off work has been jailed for two-and-a-half years.

Stewart Monk, 28, of Ackerley Court, Ashford, Kent, worked as an on-board trolley steward for Rail Gourmet on trains between Kent and London.

He admitted making 11 false bomb threats concerning London Charing Cross and Ashford International stations.

Maidstone Crown Court heard how his calls caused chaos for commuters.

They were made to a railway customer service centre in February and March this year.

New baby

On one occasion, Monk threatened: "There is a bomb at Ashford International, don't let the police know. I will blow it."

And in another call he said: "There is an hour to go before the bomb at Charing Cross goes off."

Two of the 11 calls were made from public telephone boxes, the other nine from Monk's own mobile phone.

Bridget Todd, prosecuting, told the court: "Each case had to be dealt with as if it was bona fide."

You were causing fear and anxiety to a large number of people
Recorder Peter Digney

Monk's counsel John Honey said the motive appeared to have been "to get time off work... when he was tired because of the arrival of a baby".

Mr Honey added that he was "bemused" as to why his client had used a personal phone to make some of the calls.

Monk had previously admitted 11 counts of communicating information which was known or believed to be false.

Jailing him on Friday, Recorder Peter Digney said: "You were causing fear and anxiety to a large number of people.

"I do take into account the fact that you pleaded guilty at an early stage, otherwise the sentence would be considerably higher than it is."

Monk was given two-and-a-half year sentences for each count, to run concurrently.

The court heard that he has a previous conviction for leaving fake bombs - devices attached to an aerosol, with a wire running to a battery - in a shopping centre, hotel and cinema.

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