Man admits Sri Lankan Airlines Stansted bomb hoax

Sri Lankan Airlines plane at Stansted Airport
Image caption The Sri Lankan Airlines Airbus A330 diverted into Stansted

A man has admitted making a bomb threat on an aircraft which had to be diverted to Stansted Airport.

The Sri Lankan Airlines plane flying from Colombo to Heathrow was forced to make an emergency landing at the Essex airport on 20 September.

Alan Patey, 49, of no fixed abode, pleaded guilty at Chelmsford Crown Court to communicating false information during a flight.

Judge Charles Gratwicke adjourned the case for sentencing on 22 January.

Patey was remanded in custody until that date.

The Sri Lankan Airlines A330 Airbus, which was carrying 267 passengers and crew, was due to land at Heathrow Airport but was diverted to Stansted in Essex just after 19:30 GMT.

Sources said the drama unfolded after a passenger was overheard claiming "something" was on board the flight in the luggage hold.

James Lachkovic, in mitigation for Patey, said his client was unwell at the time of the offence.

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