Court hears of Jewish woman’s shul bomb hoax and harassment

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Court hears of Jewish woman’s shul bomb hoax and harassment

Claire Mann is accused of running a campaign of intimidation against a mother at her daughter's school

Finchley United Synagogue (Kinloss)
Finchley United Synagogue (Kinloss)

A woman made a hoax bomb threat to a synagogue and carried out a harassment campaign against a mother at her daughter’s school, a court has heard.

It was part of a “concerted and sustained” course of conduct carried out by Claire Mann that hurt and distressed many people in north London’s Jewish community, prosecutor Ross Cohen told Wood Green Crown Court.

Mann, 43, of Mill Hill, north west London, has previously pleaded guilty to two counts of attempting to pervert the course of justice.

She pleaded guilty at Wood Green Crown Court in June this year to attempting to pervert the course of justice between July 1 and July 21 2013.

This relates to three incidents, including her texting Elisheva Mason – the wife Rabbi David Mason at the Muswell Hill Synagogue – on July 19 2013 and claiming “there is a bomb threat at Kinloss (Finchley United Synagogue) area hotels where there are many Israelis staying, please arrange evacuation”.

Her aim was to blame Roz Page, whose daughter attended the same school as her own child, as they had been involved in a row about their children.

Mr Cohen said the police treated it as a “real threat” and carried out a search of the scene. They left patrols in the area to try to calm any fears among members of the community.

A day later, as police were searching her home, Mann showed officers abusive text messages that she had received. It turns out they are from the same number that made the bomb threat and all the messages were sent by her.

The first abusive text, falsely claiming to be from Ms Page, was reported by Mann to police on July 2 2013. In reality, Mann had been been “masquerading” as Ms Page and sent them herself, Mr Cohen said.

Mann had become “agitated” during the police search, Mr Cohen said. He said: “Mrs Mann became terrified and repeated ‘I did it, I did it, it was a prank that has gone wrong.'”

She told officers she had thrown the telephone away but they found its box in the bedroom, the court heard.

Mann also pleaded guilty to a count of attempting to pervert the course of justice at a hearing at Harrow Crown Court this June.

It stems from her falsely representing herself to be a clinical psychologist in a document that was put before a family court hearing.

Her partner David Bright, 48, of the same address as Mann in Mill Hill, runs an organisation called Parents Voice, which helps people who are involved in family court hearings.

He put the document, complete with Mann’s fake qualifications under the name of Silverstone, before the family court.

He was found guilty of perverting the course of justice by a jury at Harrow Crown Court in July.

The father who was involved in the family court case has “suffered significantly” as a result of what happened, Mr Cohen told the court.

Detailing Mann’s actions, Mr Cohen said: “There is a concerted and sustained course of conduct in this case and as a result Ms Page, a lady of good character, got into trouble herself with the police.

“Thankfully she was not arrested and did not receive anything more than a harassment warning. She (Ms Page) seems to have been under suspicion for a long time as a result.”

Mr Cohen said “significant alarm and distress was caused to a number of people as a result of the bomb threat”, which also used up police resources.

He told the court that after her arrest Mann “started to blame others” for what had gone on and this caused “anguish”.

Mr Cohen said Mann eventually accepted responsibility but this happened later in the day, meaning “that a cloud of suspicion hung on others in the community”.

The couple are to be sentenced at Wood Green Crown Court on Monday.

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