Man sent bomb emojis to stranger he thought was his mother
A case of mistaken identity that led to man sending threatening text messages containing bomb emojis to an unsuspecting victim could have shut down Adelaide Airport, a court has heard.
Last November, David Adamson, 46, of Mitchell Park, opened a package from Flight Centre containing flight details and a mobile number he believed was addressed to his estranged mother.
The package was intended for another woman with the same name who had booked flights to Vietnam, via Sydney, departing on November 17, last year.
In the Adelaide Magistrates Court on Tuesday, Adamson pleaded guilty to two counts of making a statement or conveying false information to induce a belief that an article or substance was likely to explode, or a bomb hoax.
Police prosecutor Brevet Sergeant Chris Cure told the court Adamson sent the victim, 27, threatening text messages on the eve of her flight that, in part, read: "hope you don't travel well … you called yourself religious. You are already in hell."
"Inserted between these particular pieces of text I read out were bomb emojis," Sgt Cure said.
In a second message, Adamson referenced the victim's flight number and again included bomb emojis.
The woman contacted police, and airport security escorted the woman to her flight, reassuring her there was no imminent threat.
Sgt Cure said the woman was understandably "anxious about her flight".
"It's found out later that all of her details, from Flight Centre, was sent to the defendant's address. He had all of her details including the flight number and her mobile number. It seems to be in error."
Officers later found flight information addressed to the woman in Adamson's bin.
During a police interview Adamson admitted his actions were "drunken stupidity".
He told police he held a "longstanding disdain" towards his elderly mother who had lived with him until she left without warning three years earlier.
Brad Dittman, for Adamson, said his client had mistakenly believed the flight details were for his mother.
"(Adamson's mother) more or less left without notice in 2014. He's not heard at all from her since then. He is someone who has been left quite isolated from everyone, in particular his family," he said.
He said Adamson's mother had moved out because of her son's alcohol abuse and he had not drunk alcohol since his arrest.
"It's his use of alcohol which has landed him in trouble with this incident," Mr Dittmar said.
"He instructs me it's absolute drunken stupidity."
In sentencing, Magistrate Mark Semmens said Adamson's actions had ramifications beyond the impact on the victim.
"Your actions on this day could have shut down Adelaide Airport and other airports and created a lot of cost and impost," he said.
"The combination of the messages with the emojis, which were bomb emojis, caused great concern to this person who had nothing to do with you whatsoever apart from having the misfortune of sharing your mother's name," he said.
"That was not the person you intended to send the vitriol and threats towards but is someone who was innocently going about their business."
He suspended a six-week prison term on condition of an 18-month good-behaviour bond.
Outside court Adamson said he was "very sorry that it happened".
"It was a big misunderstanding. I'm very sorry to the person it was sent to. It was a stupid drunken act of stupidity," he said.
"I suggest that nobody ever do this again."