Drunken man told to pay £10,000 to Leeds United over 'bad joke' bomb hoax that shut club for two days

A “stupid” drunken man who sent a bomb hoax to Leeds United over social media that shut the club for two days has been ordered to pay £10,000 in compensation.

Koli Boci said he was drunk and later told police it was a “misjudged attempt at humour” after he uploaded two posts on Instagram in March, telling the club that he had planted an improvised explosive device at Elland Road, to be detonated at the club’s next home game two weeks later. In the second, he simply wrote: “Have fun guys”.

The scare resulted in the club being shut immediately, the ground had to be evacuated and the club shop closed as experts were brought in to comb the area. No device was found and the club was fully re-opened two days later. It was estimated that the total cost to the football club in lost revenue totalled more than £15,000, with an additional £2,000 for security costs.

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Boci, 21, was handed a nine-month jail term, suspended for 18 months, at Leeds Crown Court this morning. He was also given rehabilitation days, a 90-day alcohol abstinence requirement and 200 hours of unpaid work. He was also ordered to pay the five-figure compensation requirement within the next 12 months.

The bomb hoax closed Elland Road for two days. (pic by National World)The bomb hoax closed Elland Road for two days. (pic by National World)
The bomb hoax closed Elland Road for two days. (pic by National World)

Judge Neil Clark conceded that he was not a terrorist and said it was simply “utter stupidity”. He told Boci: “You thought it would be funny but you did not give any thought to the consequences. It was stupidity. The police and public service were put to enormous expense.”

Prosecuting, Satpal Roth-Sharma said Boci, of Royal Gardens, Hunslet, was arrested and his home searched after sending the Instagram posts on March 23. He said he had planted it to go off on April 4 – Leeds United’s next home game against Nottingham Forest.

At his home they found a copy of The Anarchist Cookbook, in which instructions are included on how to build home-made bombs.

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During his interview, Boci admitted sending the messages, had been out with a friend drinking with Miss Roth-Sharma saying it was a “drunken, misjudged attempt at humour and he was profoundly sorry for his actions”.

He told police that he received the bomb-making book as a teenager and kept it only as a collection piece. He admitted an offence of making a bomb hoax by communicating false information.

Mitigating for Boci, who has no previous convictions, James Littlehales said he came from a hard-working family and he worked in his father’s restaurant.

He said: “It was an act of the utmost stupidity by someone who was 20 at the time and somewhat immature and heavily in drink. It shows the danger of drink and social media taken together.

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"He has no real explanation for it, save that it was a bad joke. He does appreciate the consequences of his actions. It was simply a one-off moment of complete madness and one he is extremely remorseful for.”

Leeds United did not disclose the nature of the incident at the time, but said they would remain closed until further notice, offering apologies to fans.