A FAILED HGV driver who brought central London to a standstill by threatening to blow up an office block over a £1,000 dispute was jailed for six years this afternoon (Tuesday).
Michael Green of Archer Road, Stevenage stormed the offices of Advantage HGV in Tottenham Court Road and took four hostages after claiming he was carrying enough explosives to destroy the building.
Green said he was going to “liquidise some assets” before ordering workers to throw computers and paperwork out of windows into the busy street below. He then demanded armed police and snipers attend, saying he wanted to end his life, a jury at Blackfriars Crown Court heard.
Green, who stood as a BNP candidate for Stevenage at the last General Election, sparked the siege in a bid to get back £1,000 he had paid for a HGV training course before twice failing the exam.
Three tube stations were closed and blood supplies to a nearby hospital were disrupted in the chaos on April 27.
At one point Green shouted to general manager Garry Benardout: “This is a hostage situation I’ve got enough explosives to blow up the building. I’ve got nothing left to live for. I want you to get armed police here now.”
He told office worker Ross Whiteman, who tried to attack him with a fire extinguisher, he had five kilograms of plastic explosives strapped to his chest and wired to go off.
Green was also heard to say he wanted all 12 employees to stay in the building, including a pregnant woman, for “collateral damage”. He later allowed eight workers to leave.
Thousands of terrified office workers, together with many shoppers and tourists in the area, were evacuated during the 45 minute stand-off, with many seen leaving with their hands in the air.
Police including marksmen, explosive experts and negotiators were dispatched to the scene shortly after midday. Snipers and balaclava-clad members of Scotland Yard’s firearms unit were also present.
Green pleaded guilty to charges of false imprisonment, communicating false information with intent, and criminal damage.
Jailing him for a total of six years Judge Henry Blacksell QC ordered he serve an extended period of three years on licence after his release for what he described as a “terrifying” incident which had been prepared in a “chilling” way.
He said: “What you did, and what you set about doing, and what you set about planning was a terrible thing and it demonstrates in my judgement a disturbing aspect of your behaviour.
“This was a totally unjustified demonstration. There was not a jot of justification for this stand.”
Green who was arrested naked from the waist down at the scene, had been carrying a blow torch, a weed killer container containing methylated spirits and two jerry cans containing petrol. A ‘bomb’ was later discovered to be made of plasticine and headphones.
Defence counsel David Bentley said: “In his mind, however misguided, his motivation was to cause economic harm to this company.
“He wishes to apologise, particularly to those people caught up in the room with him.”