A deaf man has appeared in court accused of conducting a campaign of bomb hoaxes against targets in the US, Canada and the UK, including the Houses of Parliament, the Super Bowl and dozens of schools.
Andreas Dowling (23) faces 30 counts of communicating false information with intent between October 2014 and February 2016. The majority of the threats were against schools, but some were also made to US police stations, the court heard. At a preliminary hearing at the Old Bailey yesterday, prosecutor Simon Laws QC said the hoaxes caused "disruption and panic".
The threats were made both online and by phone, the court heard. Dowling, of Torpoint, Cornwall, appeared at the hearing via video link from Exeter Crown Court and was assisted in the dock by a lip speaker. He is accused of making the threat to the Super Bowl - one of the biggest events in America's sporting calendar - on February 1, 2015. Dowling allegedly threatened the Houses of Parliament on February 8, 2016. He faces an additional charge of "encouraging or assisting the commission of an offence believing it would be committed" under the Protection of Children Act 1978.
He is accused of threatening to "ruin the life" of a 17-year-old girl in the US unless she sent him nude photographs of herself. Dowling was arrested in June of this year following an investigation by Counter Terrorism Policing South West. Avon and Somerset Police said later that officers were satisfied the alleged bomb threats "were not an act of terrorism". Mr Justice Sweeney listed the case for a plea and trial preparation hearing on November 8 at a location yet to be set.