A robber who threatened to blow up the Jurys Inn Hotel in Bradford city centre has been jailed for five years.
Jagdish Johal counted down the minutes until the explosion after the terrified receptionist told him there was no money in the cash drawer, Bradford Crown Courtheard.
Johal, 37, a former accounts manager, had carried out a similar robbery at a petrol station four days earlier when he threatened the cashier with a package he said contained a bomb.
The homeless drug addict was sleeping rough behind the Shell garage on Regent Street, Leeds, on August 23 when rain motivated him to rob it.
He handed Faheem Ahmed a note saying he would blow him up if he raised the alarm, before fleeing with money.
Johal targeted the busy Jurys Inn hotel at 9.30pm on August 27.
He passed receptionist Nicola Pickles a note saying: “I have just activated a bomb in this building.
“I want you to stay calm and do exactly what I say and you won’t be harmed.
“Stay calm and give me all the notes from your drawer or I will activate the device that will take down the whole building. Wait 15 minutes after I have left before you press the alarm and I give you my word that no one will be harmed.”
Prosecutor Michael Jowett told the court yesterday that Mrs Pickles showed Johal that the drawer contained no money. A duty manager was given the note and she fetched £50 from another part of the hotel.
While she was gone, Johal counted down from five to four minutes until the bomb would explode.
He told Mrs Pickles he would walk out of the foyer and “they would set it off.”
After being given the £50, he left, saying the bomb was in a room beginning with the number three.
Three days later, he rang the police, saying: “My name is Jagdish Johal and I robbed the Jurys Inn. It has gone too far. I don’t want to do this any more.”
He said he made the device used in the first robbery from two empty plastic bottles after seeing a similar idea on the television.
He picked out the Jurys Inn in Thornton Road because it was “do-able and easy.”
Johal said he had planned to rob a bank in the same way.
He pleaded guilty to two offences of robbery and two of communicating false information with intent.
He was jailed for six years in 1996 for robbing a jewellers shop, Mr Jowett said.
In mitigation, Johal’s barrister, Stephen Couch, said he had a marketing degree but became homeless after losing his job as an accounts manager for a global firm.
Judge Jonathan Rose told Johal that bomb threats brought terror.
“You went so far as counting down as if the bomb would detonate after about five minutes and that was to heighten the sense of fear,” he said.