Hoax accused retrial

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A SHEFFIELD taxi driver accused of sending a bomb hoax message to a right wing group is facing a retrial after a jury failed to agree on a verdict.

Father-of-five Sakander Mahmood, aged 26, admitted sending the right-wing English Defence League a hoax message through its website which said: “14th July in Bristol, You are getting bombed”.

His trial started at Sheffield Crown Court earlier this week but yesterday the jury was dismissed after failing to reach a verdict.

Mahmood told Sheffield Crown Court he had never meant the message to be taken seriously.

He said he wanted to ‘to get under their skin a bit’ but thought the EDL would ignore his message.

When he was arrested, he told police he sent the message on July 10 last year ‘just for a laugh’.

Mahmood, of Firth Park, Sheffield, denied a charge of communicating a hoax bomb threat with intent.

He told the jury: “I thought they’d get this kind of stuff all the time and they would ignore it.”

The taxi driver added that he had no idea what he did would be taken seriously.

“If that had occurred to me I wouldn’t have dared to do it,” he said.

Mahmood told the jury he had no interest in Islamic politics and was not very religious.

He said he had only heard of the EDL for the first time about a month before he sent the message last July.

After deliberating for five hours following a two-day trial, a jury of seven women and five men told the judge, Recorder Andrew Dallas, that they could not agree on a verdict.

Recorder Dallas discharged the jury.

He ordered prosecutors to decide within seven days whether Mahmood should face a retrial.

Mahmood was given unconditional bail.