By Timothy Gallagher
(Picture by Cavendish Press)
A MAN who triggered a major security alert in a bid to commit “suicide by cop” after he was struck down by severe bouts of toothache has been jailed for a year.
Meysam Kordi, 32, from Birch Lane, Dukinfield, contacted officers and falsely claimed he was wearing a suicide vest after complaining he was unable to get an appointment with a dentist.
Armed officers dashed to his home, evacuated the area and put a nearby school on lockdown. They then ordered Kordi to come out before realising there were no explosives on him.
During the operation Kordi, an asylum seeker from Iran, had told a police interpreter: “Release me from this life,’’ and said he wanted police to shoot him dead. It emerged he had seen a dentist but several of his back teeth had to be removed and he was unable to eat properly.
He later told his lawyer: “I’m deeply, deeply sorry I had no intention of harming anything if I could go back to that day I wouldn’t have done what I did. I bitterly regret my actions.’’
Tests showed the fake explosive vest was made using masking tape, aerosol cans and cardboard tubing.
At Minshull Street Crown Court, Manchester, Kordi who had been in custody since his arrest last month, admitted making a bomb hoax and malicious communications. It was not said whether his asylum application would be affected by the incident.
The court heard he had arrived in the UK in May 2018 but on January 16 this year he rang police and was put through to an interpreter.
Prosecutor Duncan Wilcock said: “He initially disclosed he was frustrated with the Home Office but then went on to complain about access to health care which he believed had resulted in lost teeth which had made eating food for him very difficult.
“He then claimed he had attached three kilograms explosives to himself and that he wanted the police to attend and be armed. He said he didn’t want to harm any of the officers and that he didn’t have access to any other weapons.
“The interpreter asked if there was anything he could do to help and the defendant replied: ‘Release me from this life’. He confirmed he wanted the police to come and kill him at his address.
“He said he would put the keys through the door so the police could enter.
“Several firearms officers were allocated to the incident and other officers cordoned off a number of roads. The firearms officers negotiated with this defendant and over time he came out of the flat and he removed his outer clothing and took off the vest he was wearing.
“The officers found it to be safe and not explosive. Shops, businesses and homes had to be evacuated and a lot of public resources were used in the incident.”
James Preece, defence solicitor, said: “The incident had to be treated extremely seriously but the vest was actually not capable of causing any explosion and the defendant’s thinking was that he wished for the police to attend in order to kill him.
“He was at the time having feelings of desperation because of the circumstances of his life at the time. He wasn’t thinking about the other implications that he now is aware of, but he was somebody who was putting out a cry for help.
“The reasons for all that desperation were the problems he was suffering with his teeth. He said that for a period of six months he was suffering from severe toothache and that he couldn’t get in to see a dentist because he didn’t have the required paperwork.
“He said eventually he did get that paperwork and he was able to see a dentist but by that stage it was to remove a significant number of his back teeth. This caused him problems with eating and digesting his food properly.
“There is reference to his frustration with the asylum process and his application. It was the weight of all this led him to make this attempt on his own life. Looking back to his offence now knowing the implications to the court and significant anxiety it would have caused to the police, emergency services and the public.
“As things stand now in prison he is in a better position. He suffers from physical health problems including MS. However, he has had a change in medications for mental health difficulties and that has put him in a better position.”
Judge Bernadette Baxter said: “I accept that you had medical problems that needed treatment, particularly with your teeth. Your status as an asylum seeker made it difficult for you to access the necessary treatment – however that doesn’t justify what you did.
“Your actions were planned and premeditated. You constructed a fake explosive vest using masking tape, aerosol cans and cardboard tubing and it was designed to make people think that it was a genuine explosive device albeit I accept that those with any experience would have known relatively quickly that it was fake and non-explosive.
“You made attempts to reassure the police that it wasn’t your aim to harm any officers and that your principal concern was yourself and the situation you were in. But as a consequence police protocol was rolled out at great public expense and inconvenience.
“Firearms officers, fire brigade, explosive experts had to attend at the scene, businesses were evacuated and children had to be kept in schools because their parents couldn’t get access to collect them.
“This you must realise had real lasting impact, causing real distress over a period of hours. It must be obvious to you and to anybody else listening that this behaviour crosses the custody threshold and only an immediate sentence of imprisonment can be justified both as a punishment and more particularly as a deterrent to you and others.”