Hoax bomber freed after Sheffield court told of mental health issues

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A HOAX bomber who threatened to blow up a Sheffield office walked free from court after magistrates heard he suffered from mental health problems.

James Curtis, aged 34, of Gaunt Road, Gleadless Valley, called A4E in Attercliffe and left a message on the answering machine.

He said he had planted a bomb, used a known Irish code word, and stated: “The disabled have rights too.”

But the office was shut when he left the message in August and his threat was not heard for two days until staff returned to work.

Officers traced the call and Curtis was arrested, admitting he had left the message.

He told officers he did not like the Government’s Workfare project scheme and blamed A4E - the Sheffield firm with a Government contract to get people into work.

Curtis said: “I wanted to make life as difficult as possible for them.”

Asked why he had used an Irish code word, he said: “I wanted it to be taken seriously. The Irish used to bomb people.”

Ben Strelley, representing Curtis at Sheffield Magistrates’ Court, said his client suffered depression and anxiety and had been diagnosed with bipolar disorder in 1999.

He said: “He accepts he has problems and sought help. He became manic and his state of mind made him angry. He then made the call and an hour later he realised he had done wrong.”

Magistrates handed Curtis a two-month jail term, suspended for 12 months.