Adelaide’s District Court has heard a man who carried out a bomb threat on a school in Adelaide’s north-west in 2019 has a “serious criminal history”.
- Students from Ocean View College threatened Bradley Austin at his home
- He made a bomb threat against the school
- A court has heard he was involved in a similar incident in 1987
Bradley Austin, 69, has admitted making threats against Ocean View College, in Taperoo, before police found what looked like a homemade explosive device at his North Haven house.
Mr Austin has pleaded guilty to manufacturing explosives, possessing explosive substances and creating false belief in relation to a bomb hoax.
The court heard that in 1979, Austin robbed a bank with a gorilla mask, a beanie and a shotgun.
In 1987, he held two students and, later, a teacher hostage.
“He kept with him a device that was meant to give the impression that was a bomb and he threatened to block the school at that time until police became involved and some teachers managed to talk him down and avoid an incident,” prosecutor Michael Foundas said.
The year before, he had threatened the Pope when he visited Adelaide.
“The need for both general and personal deterrence in the current circumstances are very much paramount considerations,” Mr Foundas said.
The court previously heard Austin used a fake Facebook name to post threats against the school, post images of the school grounds and shots from his CCTV cameras of students at his front door.
In one post, he wrote, “this is the c*** who is about to be short (sic) or bombed f****** scum bag, you run when I point a gun at you”.
Accused tells of harassment
Representing himself, Mr Austin denied the prosecution’s argument he was a repeat offender, and said he had been out of the system for a long time.
“I have now paid society back by volunteering. I have no history of drugs or alcohol,” he said.
Through tears, he said he had contacted SA Police several times about being harassed by students from the school.
“I asked SA Police to come and help me … One [student] threw a knife at me,” he told the court.
He accepted that did not give him a “get out of jail free card” but said police should have helped him.
“That’s why I went on Facebook that night. I was so upset and shaking and everything.
“When I knew the police wasn’t (sic) going to do anything about it, I said ‘that’s it’.”
The prosecution said police investigations showed that Austin did make a number of reports in the months leading up to the offending, complaining of students at that school “harassing him at his home”.
“There was a suggestion that [the threat] was on Mr Austin’s part, an unnecessary cry for help,” Mr Foundas said.
Austin said he had “suffered a lot in his life” and asked for mercy in his sentence.
“I can categorically say I had no intention of carrying out the threat,” he said.
Austin has been in custody since his arrest two-and-a-half years ago.