Page last updated at 17:20 GMT, Thursday, 10 September 2009 18:20 UK

Man jailed over fake bomb in bank

A man has been jailed for five years for leaving a fake bomb in a bank in Gloucester with a note to the manager saying: "Many lives are in your hands".

Gloucester Crown Court heard Michael Metcalfe, 60, hatched the plot when his benefit money ran out, leaving him unable to support his wife and child.

The note said manager Mark Strangward had eight minutes to fill two bin bags with cash, or the bomb would explode.

Metcalfe pleaded guilty to one count of blackmail at a previous hearing.

The day of 22 July 2008 started normally at the Brockworth branch of Lloyds Bank until Mr Strangward noticed a black holdall under a desk, the court heard.

One call and it will explode. Do exactly what it says and no one will be injured
Part of the note

Inside the bag was a mobile telephone, two bin liners and a note that read: "The bag contains 35 pounds of high explosives and will completely destroy the bank and other premises and kill or badly injure many people.

"No silent alarm, no phone calls, trade as normal. No staff to leave the bank.

"One call and it will explode. Do exactly what it says and no one will be injured."

Mr Strangward ignored the note, called 999 and told his staff to leave the premises.

Metcalfe, a former project design manager in the steel industry, divorced in 2000 and his fortunes declined, the court heard.

'Somewhat amateurish'

Lisa Hennessy, prosecuting, said: "He said he'd done it because he was at the end of his tether."

She told the court that Metcalfe's actions "sparked one of the most serious emergencies in Gloucestershire for many years".

Defending, Lloyd Jenkins said: "It was carefully planned, yes, but somewhat amateurish.

"He knew he would get caught and all the responsibilities of a husband and father would vanish."

Sentencing, Judge Martin Picton said: "It would have been desperately frightening for those who faced it for real in the bank, who would have believed it.

"The drama and tension will live with the community for some time and some of the bank employees are still suffering nightmares."

Print Sponsor

The BBC is not responsible for the content of external internet sites

Has China's housing bubble burst?
How the world's oldest clove tree defied an empire
Why Royal Ballet principal Sergei Polunin quit


Sign in

BBC navigation

Copyright © 2020 BBC. The BBC is not responsible for the content of external sites. Read more.

This page is best viewed in an up-to-date web browser with style sheets (CSS) enabled. While you will be able to view the content of this page in your current browser, you will not be able to get the full visual experience. Please consider upgrading your browser software or enabling style sheets (CSS) if you are able to do so.

Americas Africa Europe Middle East South Asia Asia Pacific