Modern weddings have little to do with love these days. Little girls grow up dreaming about the day they get married – white dresses, bridesmaids, pretty flowers and exotic honey moons. Little boys grow up dreaming about ways to avoid them.
Unfortunately for 36 year old Neil McArdle, his last minute attempt to get out of his wedding resulted in a 12 month jail sentence in Liverpool, England. Having forgotten to fill out the necessary forms to get married to his fiancee, Amy Williams, McArdle figured it was better to stage a bomb hoax than go through with the ceremony. On the day of his wedding, 11 days after the Boston Marathon Bombing last year, McArdle popped down the road to a phone box and called the police saying “This is not a hoax call. There’s a bomb in St George’s Hall and it will go off in 45 minutes.”
The building was consequently evacuated and the emergency services called out, but the organizers tried to get the wedding going after no bomb showed up. It was only then that it became apparent no booking had been made.
McArdle expressed “embarrassment and shame”, telling the court he had panicked after realizing he hadn’t gone through the checklist and could not face telling his fiancee given how excited she had been about the wedding. According to the prosecution, McArdle wanted to create enough time to schedule another date, but hadn’t planned on the authorities tracing his call almost immediately and arresting him on the same day.
McArdle pled guilty to a single charge of communicating false information with intent. The judge Norman Wright told McArdle “It [St George’s Hall] has a coroner’s court, births and deaths are registered there and public tours take place. The business of the building was disrupted by your call. This must have struck sheer terror in the heart of the person who received the call. Having realized you hadn’t booked the wedding, you did nothing, and nothing and nothing and buried your head in the sand.”
“You did not say ‘we need to talk’. You tried to weasel your way out by creating a bomb hoax so the wedding would not take place. You have to understand, bomb hoaxes are extremely serious.”
Thankfully for McArdle, his fiancee stayed with him and the couple are still together.
Ben Cohen is the editor and founder of The Daily Banter. He lives in Washington DC where he does podcasts, teaches Martial Arts, and tries to be a good father. He would be extremely disturbed if you took him too seriously.