Northern Ireland

US hoax bomb caller has severe autism

Telephone
Image caption The court heard Mr Megarry's family had been working with charity, Autism NI.

A teenager charged with making bomb threat calls to major airports and a high school in the US has severe autism, a court has heard.

Ben Megarry, 19, from Harmin Heights in Newtownabbey is accused of making 23 calls in 2012 to various locations.

It is understood that the alleged calls targeted Columbine High School in Colorado - where two students murdered a teacher and 12 pupils in 1999 - as well as LAX, JFK and Kansas City airports.

Megarry was 15 at the time.

Belfast Magistrates court heard that Mr Megarry's family had been working with the charity, Autism NI.

During proceedings, it was suggested that somebody from the charity's intermediary service could be appointed to assist Mr. Megarry.

District Judge Liam McNally said his understanding was that intermediaries were not available in the magistrates' courts but there may be an exception in committal proceedings.

That was to be checked by the prosecution.

The case was adjourned until 10th March.