Maltese tourist cleared of international train bomb hoax charges

An Intercity train viewed from overhead
An Intercity train.
An Intercity train. Photo:

A 45-year-old tourist from Malta has been found not guilty of making a hoax bomb report about a train to Germany at the end of last year.

Judges in Almelo ruled the man, named as Steven S, had not made a hoax bomb threat because he did not mention a bomb or explosives in his phone call. Nor was any threat made against NS staff or passengers.

S had told the NS customer service phone line that his girlfriend had left a letter  warning that she wanted to commit a terrorist attack and was, at that moment, on the international train to Berlin.

The call led to a major security alert and the train was evacuated near Oldenzaal while police checked it for explosives.

The phone call, transcribed in court documents, included S saying: ‘My girlfriend is [name] from Malta… She is very very dangerous. She is radicalised. She is planning an attack. She left a note “I will destroy everybody in Europe”. She is sitting on the train to München or Berlin.’

Two days after the warning, S turned himself into the police and confessed to making up the entire story. He had done so because his girlfriend had gone away angry because of his drinking and drug-taking, the court documents show.

The public prosecution department had called for him to be jailed for one year, eight months suspended, and fined €20,000.

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