Edward Johnston admits Glasgow restaurant bomb threat siege
Published: 24th May 2012 16:43:01
A man who sparked a siege at a Glasgow restaurant - bringing the city centre to a standstill - has admitted telling a waiter he had a bomb.
Edward Johnston, 38, of Whiston, Merseyside, pleaded guilty to the incident at Amarone, in Nelson Mandella Place, on 10 February this year.
Armed police and bomb disposal officers cordoned off the Italian restaurant for almost eight hours.
At Glasgow Sheriff Court, sentence on Johnston was deferred until next month.
Procurator fiscal depute Bernard Ablett said that Johnston went to the restaurant at about 15:30 and ordered two glasses of wine.
He then then looked straight at the waiter who served him and said: "I have a bomb under my jacket and I want you to get everyone out."
The waiter told the assistant manager who asked Johnston if everything was okay.
Johnston told him: "I want everyone out."
The court heard he said it "very quietly, calmly and without any hint of aggression".
A fire alarm was then sounded to evacuate customers and the police were called - and arrived about half an hour later.
The restaurant was cleared with the exception of Johnston, who stayed sitting at his table.
The court was told that the owner Mario Gizzi arrived at the restaurant and unsuccessfully tried to talk him out of the premises.
Armed police, a Royal Navy bomb disposal unit, fire brigade, an ambulance and police negotiators arrived at the scene to try to end the siege.
A large section of Glasgow city centre was cordoned off causing disruption to traffic, pedestrians and transport and Buchanan underground station was closed.
During the negotiation Johnston repeatedly said he wanted the police to shoot and kill him.
He threw a fire extinguisher, a plant pot and other items on to the pavement outside the restaurant.
Mr Ablett added: "He also made various references to the Taliban, the army and Afghanistan and shouted and swore.
"The rifle officers positioned round the restaurant were able to confirm, as a result of their observations that, contrary to his claim the accused was not in possession of any bombs or explosives."
At 23:30 police tried unsuccessfully to subdue Johnston using a stun gun when he stepped outside the restaurant.
The court heard that one barb of the stun gun struck him and the other attached to the plant pot he was carrying.
Seconds later, police rushed Johnston, grabbed him by the shoulders and forced him to the ground where he was restrained and handcuffed.
He told police he wanted to die and struggled so violently they had to put straps on his legs.
The court was told that five or six years ago Johnston and his wife terminated a child and that this appears to have had a "traumatic effect" and he had apparently struggled to come to terms with what he sees as the decision to end the child's life.
Defence advocate Tony Lenehan said: "There is a mental health component that underpins this."
Sheriff Alayne Swanson deferred sentence on Johnston until next month.
Harvard CitationBBC News, 2012. Edward Johnston admits Glasgow restaurant bomb threat siege. [Online] (Updated 24 May 2012)
Available at: http://www.glasgowwired.co.uk/news.php/1430758-Edward-Johnston-admits-Glasgow-restaurant-bomb-threat-siege [Accessed 18th June 2013]
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