Ikea "bomb plot": Jealous ex called store claiming love rival was planning attack
A BOMB alert at Bristol's Ikea was sparked by a jealous ex-lover who claimed his rival was involved in a plot to attack it.
A court heard Ayman Ibrahim phoned up the Swedish furniture seller's national call centre and claimed to be a Bristol café owner who had overheard Russian customers planning the scheme.
Police swooped on the Eastville store and two addresses in the city – but no bomb or bomb-making factory was discovered.
A jury has been told that Ibrahim, pictured, was in fact a P&O ferry worker, who made the hoax call in a bid to have his ex-wife's man friend Bartosz Ociepka deported.
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The 46-year-old denies communicating false information with intent on December 30, 2011.
Karen Chamberlain, an Ikea team leader, told the jury a call was put through to her from a middle-aged sounding man with a heavy Eastern European accent.
She told the court: "He said that he knew that there was a bomb to be put into a Bristol store. He said he had a coffee shop and he overheard people speaking in Russian. He said he couldn't understand it but his wife did.
"They were plotting to put a bomb in the Ikea store in the next couple of days in Bristol. I asked him if he knew where or how it would be set off but he said 'no'. He said he felt he had to warn us."
Mrs Chamberlain said the caller referred to Ikea stores being bombed in Belgium and Germany.
She told the jury at Gloucester Crown Court: "He gave a person's name and he gave their address and postcode. He didn't give me his own name, he said he had a wife and family and it was for his safety."
Holly Webb, defending, suggested to Mrs Chamberlain that when she took the call she misheard "storm" and noted down "bomb", which the witness denied.
Ibrahim's ex-wife Maria Wierz- bicka, said they split in 2008 but Ibrahim had court-arranged contact with their daughter.
Ms Wierzbicka said she had relationship with Mr Ociepka, although they broke up in the summer of 2011. She told the jury Ibrahim was "very negative" towards Mr Ociepka. "He said he would get him deported," she added.
Mr Ociepka, speaking via a Polish interpreter, said he was baffled when police arrested him in connection with a bomb plot.
He said: "I thought the police had knocked on the wrong door."
When police asked him who might have implicated him in a bomb plot, he told them Ibrahim was "the only person who might have some grudge against me".
Ms Webb suggested that Mr Ociepka had been in a Tesco superstore café in Bristol with some Russian men on December 16 2011. He said he had not been there, and he only spoke three or four words of Russian.
Police searches of Ikea, of Mr Ociepka's home in Barton Hill and Ms Wierzbicka's home in Hengrove found no evidence of bombs.
Ibrahim told the jury he had reported Mr Ociepka to the police but had genuinely been concerned he was going to "storm" the Ikea store.
He said that he had travelled from his home in Dover to Bristol to buy a car and arranged, through Miss Wierzbicka, to take his daughter to school.
While in Bristol, he met a Latvian couple hitchhiking and agreed to take them to a Tesco café before giving them a lift. It was at the cafe, he said, that he spotted two men chatting with Mr Ociepka.
Ibrahim said that as he drove the Latvian couple to Dover they told him about the Russians' conversation.
He told the jury: "They said the two guys sitting with Mr Ociepka were absolutely mad. They were talking about storming Ikea. The girl said there was nothing funny about it, it had happened in Europe."
Ibrahim held up a batch of photocopies containing reports of bombings at Ikeas in Europe.
He said: "It was my duty to report it. It is a duty of any citizen. It is not a crime."
He admitted identifying Mr Ociepka to police, and showed the jury a picture of a suspect related to an attack on Ikea which he thought resembled Mr Ociepka.
The case continues.