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Hoaxer had neighbours arrested at gunpoint over fake terrorism tip-off


A serial hoaxer caused his neighbours to be apprehended at gunpoint by police on terrorism suspicions and falsely accused another person of rape.

Robin Lowrie was already serving a suspended sentence after risking the lives of volunteers in a two hour ordeal where he pretended to be up to his waist in the sea with his pregnant partner, according to Chronicle Live.

The 41-year-old has several prior convictions stretching back to 1997 for crimes of malicious and false, including 24 offences of causing a public nuisance and bomb hoaxes – for which he has spent time in custody on more than one occasion.

He has now been sentenced to seven-and-a-half years in prison for his latest string of misdemeanours, with a Newcastle Crown Court warning that he risks killing someone with is behaviour.

In September 2019, Lowrie was working as a member of door staff employed by Phoenix Security when another doorman was assaulted at work at a North East club.

Lowrie then phoned and texted the other doorman saying he was in the club toilets and he claimed he had been knocked out and raped by the same man who punched his colleague.

He later showed the colleague scratches on his penis and chest to back up his story.

Lowrie then reported the supposed sexual assault to police, saying he had a hole on his finger which he thought was from a needle.

Jessica Slaughter, prosecuting, said he told them he had been knocked out by the man who punched his colleague, and when he came round his clothing was dishevelled and disturbed.

But CCTV from the club showed the suspect did not enter the toilets at the relevant period and Lowrie had been sending messages on his phone while he said he was unconscious.

Two weeks after his arrest and interview in respect of the false sexual allegation, he made a hoax phone call to HM Coastguard in which he claimed to be a fisherman on board a sinking fishing vessel near Blyth harbour, up to his waist in water, with his pregnant partner – who didn’t exist – on board.

Weather conditions were extremely poor and two RNLI lifeboats crewed by a total of six people were launched. One lifeboat had to return to harbour due to the conditions. The other stayed at sea for two hours searching a three-mile area.

Nine other RNLI staff were called out and waited on standby.

Lowrie was given a two year suspended sentence for that in March 2020 after a court heard he was a witness in a murder case, although the judge was unaware of the fake rape claim at that point.

While subject to that sentence, Lowrie, formerly of Blyth, Northumberland, was living in Bristol when he committed the next offence on March 31 this year by making the malicious claim about his neighbours to a 101 operator.

Miss Slaughter said: “He claimed that two neighbours, in the flat next door, were planning a terrorist attack on Bridewell Police Station in Bristol, at 21.30 that night, using a nail bomb in rucksacks, as “payback” for arrests made on the previous Sunday.

“He claimed to have been inside the flat and to have seen the bombs, and six black rucksacks.”

A woman who was in the flat alone was arrested at gunpoint.

She said: “I had police officers shouting at me to get down on the floor and they had guns. I ended up getting onto my knees with my hands above my head and I couldn’t get down any further because I was frozen with fear.

“There was an officer with a gun shouting at me whilst I was on the floor and another was telling me to breathe because I was hyperventilating and crying.”

The woman, who was completely innocent, added n a victim impact statement: “This incident has left me petrified. When the police were shouting at me and telling me to get on the ground, I felt like I was being treated like a criminal and I didn’t know what was going on and I thought I was going to be shot.

“It was terrifying. I couldn’t stop shaking for at least 24 hours after they had left and I couldn’t stop crying.

“I feel like people are looking at me like I’m a terrorist or like I’m going to hurt their children.”

Her partner was visited at work at a supermarket by firearms officers and all staff were ordered to leave so that the store, his car and rucksack could be searched.

.As a direct result of the Lowrie’s bomb hoax, police officers conducted drive-bys of the alleged perpetrator’s address, a warrant of entry was sought, including identifying an out-of-hours specialist terrorism judge, armed officers were deployed, three ambulances with specially trained hazardous area response team units were put on standby,three fire engines were put on standby, a police helicopter was deployed and a police negotiator was put on standby.

The deployment included 19 police officers, costing £3,968.

The Rowan House block was evacuated, disturbing a large number of people, including the elderly, and families with young children.

When interviewed, Lowrie named another man as being the person who made the bomb hoax telephone call, and claimed that he had done it to frame him because he was jealous of Lowrie’s recent marriage. The man was innocent and Lowrie is not married.

Lowrie, latterly of Dalston Lane, Hackney, London, was sentenced to a total of seven-and-a-half years after pleading guilty to the perverting the course of justice and bomb hoax offences and having the suspended sentence for the coastguard offence activated.

Judge Amanda Rippon told him: “There is, I’m afraid, without question a significant risk you are going to kill someone if you don’t stop doing this and if not kill someone, cause someone really serious physical harm.”

Lee Fish, defending, said: “He recognises there’s little I can say.

“This defendant is a complex man with complex mental health issues.”




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