A British groom who called in a phony bomb threat to his own wedding venue, just days after the Boston Marathon tragedy, has been sentenced to a year in prison.
36-year-old Neil McArdle made global headlines when it was discovered that he performed the hoax the day of his scheduled big day because he had forgotten to finalize some important duties. In a panic, McArdle dialed up St. George’s Hall in Liverpool and told a receptionist, “There’s a bomb in St. George’s Hall and it will go off in 45 minutes.”
The building was put on lock down as bomb disposal units and police officers searched the venue from top to bottom. Bride-to-be Amy Williams showed up in her gown only to discover the chaotic scene. It turned out that one of the things Neil forgot to do was book the venue.
McArdle had told The Daily Mail, “It was just a ridiculous thing I did. It might be funny to other people, but not to me. It’s wrecking my family’s life.”
McArdle earlier plead guilty to a single count of communicating false information with intent. Judge Norman Wright wasn’t amused by McArdle’s actions either and let him know as much during the sentencing:
“I just don’t accept that the penny dropped on the night before the wedding… You are an intelligent man with a degree. Maybe there was an ambivalence in your mind about the wedding and suddenly you got yourself into quite a predicament. It seems that you buried your head in the sand until the day of the wedding… This happened 11 days after the Boston bombings which must have been at the very forefront of peoples’ minds. Your call to St George’s Hall must have struck sheer terror in the heart of the person that received the call and fear in the minds of the people who are charged with the responsibility of the safety of people inside the building… You knew that the wedding couldn’t take place and you didn’t try to level with your partner. Instead, you tried to weasel your way out of the situation. It seems there was a betrayal of trust in your relationship. I hope you learn from this experience but you have to understand that bomb hoaxes are extremely serious.”
McArdle and Miss Williams are believed to still be together but have yet to set another date to marry.