Bomb hoaxer jailed for two assaults

Crime story
Crime story

A BOMB hoaxer who sparked a terror alert in Wigan town centre assaulted two women on the day he was due before a judge to learn his sentence.

William Nicolson was due at Liverpool Crown Court last month having pleaded guilty to phoning in the false threat which had officers searching through bins.

The 44-year-old’s non-appearance caused the bench to issue an arrest warrant unaware he was already in custody in Wigan for the attacks.

He subsequently pleaded guilty to two charges of assault by beating and was jailed for 12 weeks by Wigan magistrates on November 4.

Nicholson, of Harrow Road, Marsh Green, appeared on video link from HMP Forest Bank this week but sentencing for the bomb hoax was adjourned until December 5.

It occurred on September 30 when Nicolson had spent “most of the day drinking”, the earlier court hearing was told.

Karen Schofield, defending, said: “Obviously it is a concern that the offence is committed while intoxicated. He had been talking with another male while he was drinking about the war and it must have been on his mind.”

Carl Gaffney, prosecuting, told the court he did not need to outline the implications of the “distress and panic” the hoax call could have caused to the general public and the emergency services if it had not been as resolved as swiftly as it was. He said: “That he had been drinking is not a mitigating factor, it is a contributory factor.”

Ms Schofield said Nicolson had a drink problem which had been exacerbated by the recent death of his brother.

When played the audio of the call following his arrest, the defendant had no recollection of what he said although he accepted it was him, she added.

Ms Schofield told the court: “He hung his head during his interview, he is remorseful and regrets what he did. But he would still not be able to tell you what he said.”