Man arrested over school massacre threat released without charge

A 55-year-old man arrested in connection with a Facebook threat against Montgomery High School in Bispham has been released without charge.

Monday, 16th May 2016, 2:38 pm
Updated Monday, 16th May 2016, 3:41 pm
The police presence at Montgomery High School in January, as pupils arrived for school following online threats on Facebook

The man, from Blackpool, was arrested on suspicion of public nuisance and malicious communication offences in January.

He had been told to return to the police station on May 26 after answering his initial bail last month.

But a spokesman for Lancashire Police today confirmed the man was released on Friday.

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Detectives launched the extensive investigation into the online messages, which threatened a US-style gun massacre at the school, in All Hallows Road, on December 30 and 31.

One online post said: “You think it’s a joke? You’ll see bullets, bodies, and blood.”

Police said from the start the threat was not being treated as credible, but officers stood guard as classes resumed following the Christmas break in a bid to reassure parents and pupils.

Initial attendances plummeted to just 268 – down from its usual 1,371 – but soon returned to normal, as head teacher Tony Nicholson accused the anonymous poster of spreading anxiety amongst parents.

A statement from Lancashire Police released this afternoon read: “In December, officers were made aware of a number of Facebook and Reddit social media posts related to Montgomery High School in Bispham.

“The messages, created by an anonymous user, threatened to harm pupils when the school term started. The school opened as planned on Monday, January 4, with officers in attendance at the site, providing a visible presence to reassure parents, pupils and staff.

“There was no incident and no one was harmed.

“Detectives launched an extensive investigation following the posts and a 55-year-old man from Blackpool was arrested on suspicion of public nuisance and malicious communication offences.

“He was released without charge on Friday, May 13.”