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Belfast man who made Ulster Hall bomb hoax call avoids jail

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Ulster Hall, Belfast.

Ulster Hall, Belfast.

Ulster Hall, Belfast.

A man who made a hoax call claiming there was a bomb at a Belfast concert venue has avoided jail.

Patrick McNally, 45, was given a four-month suspended prison term for the bogus alert to police about a device outside the Ulster Hall on Bedford Street.

The 45-year-old, of Jerusalem Street in the city, pleaded guilty to communicating false information causing belief of an explosion.

Belfast Magistrates' Court heard he made the 999 phone call on January 4 this year.

During a conversation he stated: "There's a bomb outside the Ulster Hall, you may defuse it yourself d******d."

Checks confirmed the call had been made from a number registered to McNally.

No disruption was caused to the venue or the general public during the incident.

A district judge was told police were able to establish it had been a hoax within minutes.

McNally's solicitor stressed he has struggled with a mental health disorder for years.

"He lives a very solitary life," the lawyer added.

Imposing a prison sentence, the judge suspended the term due to the early admissions of guilt.

But the judge warned McNally: "If you make another hoax bomb call you will be dealt with for that matter, and also spend four months in custody for this."

Belfast Telegraph