Man threatened to 'blow up' Manchester shopping centre with 'bombs in his shoes'

Terence Howarth threatened to blow up the Arndale Centre in Manchester Credit: ITV

A man from Manchester called 999 and threatened to ‘blow up’ the Arndale centre with ‘two bombs in his shoes’.Terence Howarth, 32, was spotted on CCTV making the call from a phone box in St Anne’s Square, in the city centre, in June 2019.He was monitored walking towards Shude Hill station after making the call, shortly before he was stopped and searched by passing PCSOs.Fortunately no explosive devices were found, Manchester Crown Court heard.Howarth later told officers in an interview that he couldn’t remember what had happened, and stated he had forgotten to take his anti-psychotic medication.He pleaded guilty to communicating false information, namely a bomb hoax, but was handed a suspended sentence after a judge found he had ‘turned his life around’.The maximum sentence was said to be seven years imprisonment.The court heard there was no large police presence and no buildings were evacuated.

Terence Howarth Credit: MEN media

Police later confirmed Terence Howarth was the man from the CCTV footage.The call handler noted that he appeared to be having a conversation with someone at the time, but no other person was seen on the footage.He was interviewed by officers and said he couldn’t remember anything from the time, and said he hadn’t taken his anti-psychotic medication due to a heart condition.In a victim personal statement, the call handler said she had only been out of mentoring for four months prior to Howarth’s call.She said it was the first call of that type she had ever received and she felt ‘terrified’.She added that she had to get her supervisor to take over the call as she felt so upset.The court heard that Howarth had 52 previous convictions for 91 offences including burglary, persistently using a public communication to cause annoyance and racially aggravated harassment.Terence Howarth's solicitor, Neil Fryman said: “At the time of the offence and on the recording, it appears he was hearing voices and speaking to somebody in the telephone box and that's clear from the CCTV that he was on his own when making those calls.” “He has not used drugs since the incident. He was homeless at the time and he wasn’t taking his anti-psychotic medication."He added that his client now has settled accommodation, volunteers with the homeless and has joined a church.Howarth was sentenced to 12 months imprisonment which was suspended for two years, as well as 10 days of rehabilitation activity requirements.