Hoax caller admits he lied to police about Glasgow University bomb threat

Published

Credit: Laurie Clarke

Silas Pease
Reporter

The man who phoned 999 claiming that he had sent the bomb to the University of Glasgow last year has now admitted that he lied.

The man who claimed responsibility for the University of Glasgow’s bomb threat from last year has admitted to wasting police time and lying about being behind the incident.

The caller, 38-year-old Lee Steel from Ayrshire, is alleged to have phoned 999 shortly after the incident, chanting various pro-IRA slogans and telling the operator that he had sent the packages.

In Glasgow Sheriff Court on 4 March this year, Steel admitted he was in fact not behind the attack. He also claimed to have no recollection of making the phone call and is alleged to have been under the influence of alcohol at the time. Mr Steel’s sentencing has been pushed back until next month to allow for a background report, and he is currently released on bail.

The bomb threat caused several buildings in the University to be evacuated, and classes were cancelled for the day. The package was later destroyed in a controlled explosion and the University was fully reopened the following day.

The parcel sent to the University was connected with several others sent to locations in London the day before. Heathrow and London City airports, as well as Waterloo Station, all received packages which were said to be similar in terms of packaging and the kinds of devices used to that in Glasgow.

Despite the package addressed to Heathrow catching fire when it was opened, these packages were later determined to not have the capacity to kill anyone. The packages were also later linked to similar devices sent to several British Army recruitment centres back in 2014.

An investigation was launched to examine whether there was a connection between the parcels and the IRA, as the packages were determined to be fairly similar to previous packages linked to the group. Furthermore, the packages all had Irish stamps and their return addresses were for a bus company, Bus Eireann, in Dublin.

Shortly after the incident, a group known to security services as the New IRA claimed responsibility for the packages. The group also confessed to sending five packages, though the last one, addressed to Charing Cross Station in London, was later found at a postal depot in Limerick. Both the final package and the one sent to the University were aimed at British Army recruitment officers who worked at these addresses.