A 44 year-old man from Sittingbourne, Kent, England, who failed his accounting exams, has been sentenced to two years' imprisonment for urging Moslems to launch terror attacks on accountants.
Malcolm Hodges, 44, had failed an exam set by the Association of Chartered Certified Accountants (ACCA) ten years ago, and had been arguing about it with the Association ever since. The grudge festered over time, and Hodges widened his one-man campaign by writing a series of letters to the British royal family, the Chancellor, and the Prime Minister, outlining the "grave injustice" behind his low marking.
Hodges' mission changed from farcical to dangerous in November 2006, when he began writing to UK mosques, claiming to be a follower of Osama Bin Laden.
"Brothers, you are right to kill the infidels but you are making a mistake to try and attack planes and other targets," he wrote. Instead Islamists would be better off declaring a "jihad" against the four accountancy bodies.
"Striking at these targets will be striking at the infidels where it hurts most," the letter argued.
David Burgess, defending, said Hodges had nursed his obsession for years.
"There was a real risk that if one of your letters had fallen into the wrong hands there might have been a terrorist atrocity and people might have been killed or seriously injured," Judge Jeremy Roberts told the defendant.
The ACCA certainly considered Hodges to be a real risk. The court also heard how the Association took the threats so seriously it spent 140,000 pounds on security measures. Nor was it the only accounting body given cause for concern.
"We were warned by the police of the letter campaign in 2006," an ICAEW spokesperson told AccountingWEB. "Since then the Institute has reviewed its security measures as appropriate. You have to take these things seriously, there's no way of knowing if it's a hoax or not."
Judge Roberts said that Hodges suffered from a "seriously abnormal mental condition," probably in "some form of personality disorder."
Hodges had been supposed to marry last May, but his fiancee broke off the engagement on news of his arrest. He pleaded guilty to recklessly encouraging terrorism.
Adapted from a story on our sister site, AccountingWEB.co.uk