A Peterborough man who claimed to be an Islamic terrorist and threatened to blow up hundreds of passengers at an airport after a drinking binge was jailed for a year today (Wednesday).
A court heard how Stepans Bereznojs, (31), of Thistlemoor Road, Peterborough downed a 700ml bottle of brandy and several cans of beer after returning to Stansted airport, Essex, from his native Latvia.
Arriving in the pre-immigration section, father of one Bereznojs confronted customer service adviser Michael Stolborg-Price, Chelsmford Crown Court heard.
Mr Stolborg-Price said he was working on the pre-immigration desk when he saw Bereznojs walking towards him with his middle finer in the air.
Prosecuting, Karl Volz told the court that when asked what he was doing, Bereznojs stated ‘I want to declare I’m a terrorist’.
When Mr Stolborg-Price asked him to repeat himself he said, ‘I declare I’m a terrorist and I’m going to blow you all up’.
Mr Volz added: “Police assistance was requested and he turned back and saw the defendant 10 feet away saying in an elevated voice ‘Allah Allah’.
“Then the defendant got up and faced Mr Stolberg-Price and said ‘I’m joking’.”
The court heard Bereznojs had returned from a trip to his home country of Latvia where they had celebrated independence day.
When interviewed by police, Bereznojs drinking brandy and on the day of the incident as well as several cans of beer on the flight.
He told officers he had no memory of the incident at all and his first memory after getting off the plane was being in a police cell.
Mitigating, Rakesha Sharma admitted his client had done a stupid thing but stressed he posed no risk to members of the public.
He said: “Of course it was a stupid thing to do, if there were an offence of crass stupidity then this defendant would be guilty of that.”
The incident happened near a customer services ambassador at 10.50am in November last year.
Sentencing Berejnovs at Chelmsford Crown Court, Judge Anthony Goldstaub QC said: “The police at Stansted are armed and you were lucky not to be shot.
“People who claim to be terrorists or pretend to be terrorists at airports are playing with fire, there’s no question about that and there’s no question about what will happen to them.
“You will go to prison and anyone else who does this will go to prison as well.
Bereznojs previously pleaded guilty to communicating information which he knew to be false with the intention of inducing false belief that a bomb was present.