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Drunk who Terrorised Reading Mecca Bingo hall appears in court

  • 22 May 09
  • Written by Charlotte Widmore

Mecca BingoStaff of a former Reading Mecca Bingo hall have been giving evidence at Reading Crown court in a case against a man accused of threatening to explode a bomb on the premises in October 16th 2006.  The accused, Mr John Thompson is said to have been behaving in an ‘agitated’ way, banging on the doors of the Mecca Bingo Hall and waving his mobile phone to the frightened Staff who had locked the doors to keep the accused out of the bingo hall.   Mr Thompson is alleged to have attended the Mecca Bingo Hall at 10.30 pm that evening whereby he made threats that a bomb would explode on the premises by waving his hands simulating an explosion and saying ‘KaBoom!’

Police called by Mecca Bingo Hall to deal with bomb suspect

The jury heard evidence from the then Mecca Bingo hall club General Manager , Carl White who stated when giving his evidence that “Initially I believed it was just a prank. As the situation went on and developed, and the more anxious this gentleman got, the more serious I believed the case of what he was saying.” Mr White was so concerned by the agitated state of the accused and his threats that he eventually called the police.  A recording of the 999 call made by Mr White and the conversation with the operator was played to the jury “There is a nutter at the door, banging and trying to get in saying there is a bomb.”

The defendant’s solicitor Harriet Bathurst-Norman asked Mr White why he had referred to her client as a ‘nutter’, Mr. White stated that he “panicked”, and added “I was fearing for my staff and the club’s safety. It was the turn of phrase. He appeared to be frantic.” Another member of staff giving evidence for the prosecution former Mecca Bingo Hall Supervisor was so frightened by Mr Thompson’s behaviour that she ran away crying, and stated that she was ‘terrified’ and that the Mr Thompson behaviour was ‘not normal’, and that she was convinced that there was a bomb in the Mecca Bingo hall.  Another witness a man who at the time regularly attended the Mecca Bingo hall, Mr Leroy Davis told the jury that he believed Mr Thompson to be drunk.

No bomb found

The police also gave their evidence of the events during and after the Mecca Bingo bomb threat, and told the jury that the accused has said that he was on a mixture of medication for different medical conditions and smelt strongly of alcohol.  There was no evidence of a bomb found by Police who attended the Mecca Bingo Hall.

A doctor called to the police station to attend the accused after he was arrested stated that in their opinion Mr Thompson was suffering from “active depression”.  Mr Thompson denies any knowledge of the alleged bomb threats made to the Mecca Bingo Hall in Reading. Mr Thompson denies the charges and the trial continues.


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