Woman 'terrorist' told police and doctors' surgery in Wakefield she had planted bombs

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A woman threatened to blow up a medical centre and a police station, telling staff: “I’m a terrorist and there is a bomb planted somewhere.”

Courtney Longstaff made the hoax claims that she had planted devices, first at King’s Medical Centre in Normanton, and then at the police station in the town, telling them that she “hated the way the police treat people”.

The 22-year-old appeared at Leeds Crown Court this week where she admitted three counts of making malicious communications.

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Prosecutor Shannon Woodley said that walked into the Edward Street medical practice on March 31 and went into the women’s toilets where she wrote a message on the mirror claiming to be a terrorist, that she wanted to kill people in a “gun attack” and that she she had planted a bomb “somewhere”.

Longstaff told staff at King's Medical Centre that a bomb had been  planted in the building. (pic by Google Maps / National World)Longstaff told staff at King's Medical Centre that a bomb had been  planted in the building. (pic by Google Maps / National World)
Longstaff told staff at King's Medical Centre that a bomb had been planted in the building. (pic by Google Maps / National World)

She left the toilet and told staff that a message had been written, so the emergency services were contacted and the building was evacuated for more than three hours as a careful search was conducted. The court was told more than 30 appointments at the centre had to be cancelled.

Four days later Longstaff began a webchat on the West Yorkshire Police website from her home in Windross Close in Altofts in which she said: “I’m going to kill you and cut your f*****g throat.”

She then told them she had planted a device “in the entrance somewhere”. Again a search was carried out but no bomb was found.

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Finally, on April 7, she contacted Cambridgeshire Police via their webchat, and told them she had again left a bomb outside the station in Normanton. However, after the internet IP address was recognised as being Longstaff’s, the decision was taken not to evacuate.

The court heard that she has five previous convictions for 15 offences, including possessing an offensive weapon in public, threats to kill and causing a public nuisance.

Mitigating, Rachel Webster said that Longstaff should be given credit for early guilty pleas, and that she was “deeply remorseful”. It was heard that Longstaff had been on medication for mental health issues but had to be stop taking them because she was suffering from heart palpitations.

No further mitigation was offered after Judge Christopher Batty said he would not send her to jail, describing her as a “troubled young lady who needs help”.

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He said: “What you did was outrageous but you can tell from your reaction and the reports that you know that. It is serious but I’m going to suspend it.

"You know full well you should not have done what you did. Whatever you view at the time, whatever the reason you did it, the impact is fear to start with, and huge inconvenience and upset.

"I should send you to prison, it’s worth 14 months, but I have decided, given the issues I have read about your mental health issues that actually the best way is to get you the treatment you need.

"It should mean you do not do anything as stupid as this in future. Locking you up won’t achieve anything.”

He gave her 14 months’ jail, suspended for two years, a nine-month mental health treatment order and 20 rehabilitation days.