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Mother’s bomb threat caused panic at social services

By Burton Mail  |  Posted: June 18, 2014

Burton Magistrates' Court

Burton Magistrates' Court

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A MOTHER from Burton left social services staff terrified after telling them there was a bomb outside their building.

Karen Burke’s phone call turned out to be a hoax but caused panic among members of staff who believed the bomb threat to be real, Burton Magistrates’ Court heard.

The call to social services in Lichfield on May 9 was answered by Vivien Phillips, who was told by Burke, of Uxbridge Street, Burton, that there was ‘a bomb under the bin’ and instructed her to evacuate the building.

Ms Phillips was so rattled that she immediately contacted her supervisor, Kerry Oddy, to alert her to the situation.

But when Ms Oddy was informed it was Burke who was making the threat, she told staff not to worry as the 45-year-old was known to social services.

Burke had been angered following a long-running dispute with the service and was prone to lashing out and being unwilling to co-operate, the court heard.

Emma Thompson, prosecuting, said: “She said ‘there’s a bomb under the bins outside the building, you had better evacuate’. She sounded aggressive and it alarmed her (Ms Phillips) so much that she went to speak to her supervisor immediately.”

Ms Oddy then spoke to Burke on the phone herself. Though Burke was shouting and swearing, Ms Oddy did not believe there was a bomb outside, Mrs Thompson said.

“She was served with verbal threats, but they were just that. It was upsetting but she didn’t believe the information about the bomb,” she said.

Police were called to the scene but fire crews and bomb disposal teams were not alerted.

Sonia Lawrence, defending, added: “This was something that happened in the heat of the moment. It was a stressful and emotional time for her.”

Burke pleaded guilty to communicating false information. She is due to be sentenced on July 8.

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