first_imgA man has been jailed for 8 months for pretending to have planted a bomb in the Bodleian Library.Steven Thomas, 34, phoned the Oxfordshire police from a public call box and told them there were “incendiary devices set up in the Bodleian.”Thomas, a resident of Headington, called the police from a public phone box on Cowley road on 24th November and told them to evacuate the library.The police did not evacuate the Bodleian after receiving the call. They traced the number to the phone box and found Thomas there 20 minutes after the phone call had been made.The prosecution, Clare Tucker described how the arresting officer found him. “His speech was slurred, he was unsteady on his feet and the officer could smell intoxicating liquor.”His defence, Lucy Tapper, said, “The call seems to have been ill thought through and not really a genuine attempt.”Tapper said of Thomas, “He is someone who is academically gifted and musically gifted.”He was given his eight month sentence on 17th April by Recorder Guy Hungerford.Thomas had alcohol and drug problems. He claimed that he was suffering from paranoid delusions and could hear voices in his head telling him to do bad things in order to be punished.Thomas, of Awgar Stone Road, in Wood Farm, Oxford, admitted communicating false information with intent. One first year student, who also suffers from paranoid delusions, said, “There’s a fine line between malingering – pretending to be suffering from delusions – and actual paranoia but if the symptoms he describes are true, prison will not be helpful; he needs to be sectioned.”Thomas said that the incident had been a cry for help.The University declined to comment on Thomas’ sentencing, but did say that they have plans in place if an evacuation were to be considered necessary by the police. They run regular fire drills.The terror threat at Oxford is considered high by the police and University. Recorder Hungerford said of the Thomas case, “This kind of thing can only add to the public’s anxiety.”However, one PPEist at Magdalen who said: “I’d never considered the University to be at particular threat before – a drunk and delusional man is not something I’m going to be losing any sleep over.”Threats to University buildings in the past have chiefly been directed towards its controversial animal research facility. Police have had to deal with arson attempts at the site. University Buildings have also been evacuated before due to a false anthrax scare.last_img read more