Norfolk

Bomb hoax teaching assistant Zoe Gregory jailed

Zoe Gregory Image copyright PA
Image caption Zoe Gregory admitted communicating false information

A teaching assistant who used a pupil's email account to make a false bomb threat has been jailed for 15 months.

Zoe Gregory, 26, was arrested after claims she wrote an email warning a bomb had been left at Ormiston Victory Academy in Costessey, near Norwich.

At the city's crown court, she admitted the bomb hoax and unauthorised access to the pupil's computer.

Students Holly Littlefield, 16, and Vicky Francis, 15, were arrested and held for 10 hours, the court heard.

But it later emerged Gregory had accessed Miss Littlefield's email account without her knowledge.

'Bin Laden taunts'

Image caption Vicky Francis and Holly Littlefield spent 10 hours in police custody

The court heard Gregory, of Blackhill Wood Lane, Costessey, resented how the school was treating her and had not liked Miss Littlefield despite knowing her since she was seven years old.

Judge Maureen Bacon said: "These offences were committed at a time when there is a significant public sensitivity to acts of terrorism generally and an awareness too that even children may be involved in such acts.

"It cannot be said that this was some moment of madness as there was planning and deviousness involved.

"Two wholly innocent schoolgirls were placed under suspicion and, very soon after, under arrest.

"Holly speaks of how frightened and scared she was as she was held in a police cell.

"Her fear and anxiety only increased as she heard others calling out under the influence of drink and drugs."

The pupil was dubbed "Holly Bin Laden" and received the unwarranted taunts of other pupils, the court heard.

The crime was only detected when an IT expert at the school traced the email to Gregory's father's computer.

Image copyright Google
Image caption Zoe Gregory was dismissed from Ormiston Victory Academy in Costessey, Norfolk

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