“It’s some idiot who’s in a panic about his exams...”

Shortly before Christmas last year, a student phoned to say that a bomb had been planted on the AU campus on Fuglesangs Allé in Aarhus. Next day he turned himself in. And this month sentence will be passed.

Monday 17 December 2012, morning

ASM and a group of his fellow students are in the canteen in S building on the AU campus on Fuglesangs Allé in Aarhus. The group have been meeting up for the past four days to revise for their exams, which is also why they are here this morning.

They’re all worried about the next exam, which is to be held early the same afternoon. Especially ASM. He’s never failed an exam before; but he fears he might fail this one because he didn’t attend most of the lectures in the subject concerned. And he never carried out his plan to revise on his own.

A conversation overheard

ASM goes outside for a smoke with one of his friends. While they’re standing outside they overhear a conversation between some other students, who are fed up because they have to re-sit an examination today. The normal exam two months earlier in October had to be cancelled when 2,000 students were evacuated from the Fuglesangs Allé buildings because of a bomb threat.

And this is when ASM gets his idea:
“Wouldn’t it be great if someone issued a bomb threat today! We’d get a few more weeks to do our revision.”

Phoning 112

ASM borrows a car and drives away.

“I find a random passer-by on the street and borrow their phone. I make the call, but regret what I’ve done immediately and hang up before finishing the threat.”

ASM has dialled 112. He can’t remember exactly what he said to the emergency services.

“I only remember that I don’t finish what I’d planned to say. I hang up because I’m struck with a guilty conscience. I suddenly feel that what I’ve done is wrong. I realise that this is no joke. I should perhaps have had this thought ten minutes earlier, because of course it was going to have serious consequences for me and lots of other people.”

Monday 17 December 2012, afternoon

ASM returns to his friends on Fuglesangs Allé.

Half an hour passes since his call, and he begins to hope that the police didn’t take the threat seriously. He starts to set up his computer in the exam room.

The police are here

“I’m already relieved and feel really, really happy. And I’m going outside to have a smoke before the exam starts. While I’m standing outside a white car pulls up and one of my friends says: ‘The police are here’. I go into a state of shock. I keep thinking ‘This is really happening’. They’re going to evacuate us, and the consequences will be terrible if they find out who made the call.”

ASM returns to the exam room but has only just managed to get his books out when they are all told that they have to get out. The building is being evacuated because there has been a bomb threat.

What’s going on?

“Then someone says: ‘What the hell is going on?’ I play along with what’s happening, pretending I’m just as surprised as everyone else. And standing there in the exam room my feelings are a bit mixed. I know this is serious, but I still haven’t completely understood what I’ve done. Outside on the corridor I hear a comment which I’ll never forget. Someone says ‘It’s some idiot who’s in a panic about his exams – that’s what this is all about.’ And it’s me she’s talking about. She just doesn’t know it. But I do. And I can’t help thinking: What the hell have I done?”

Breaking down

ASM walks towards the main entrance.

“I see someone crying. And I feel terrible because I’ve messed things up for loads of people. Christmas is coming, lots of people are going off on holiday. They just have to get their exams over with, but now I’ve ruined all their plans. I feel a terrible pang of conscience.”

ASM is walking along by the nearby cemetery just opposite the campus when he breaks down.

Dr Jekyll and Mister Hyde

“I’m not the kind of bloke to get into trouble normally. I’ve never smoked hash, I don’t drink, and I’m probably the only person among all my friends who doesn’t know how to fight. And unlike many of my friends from a non-Danish background, I’ve always avoided any sort of crime. I’m the kind of bloke who reports problems to the police. But this feels like being Dr Jekyll and Mister Hyde.”

When ASM gets home he gets into his car and drives out to Hasselager, which is a suburb of Aarhus. He sits out there all afternoon, listening to music and crying.

Monday 17 December 2012, evening

The same evening ASM goes to see his dad. He tells him what has happened.

“He doesn’t react at all. Or at least, he reacts by not saying anything. I can clearly see he’s hugely disappointed in me. Then he says: ‘It’s not me you’re up against’. What he means is that we can always work out any problems arising between the two of us – after all, there will always be some problems between parents and their kids. He also says ‘It’s not your mother or your friend you’re up against, either. What you’re up against is a whole country. You’ve put loads of people on red alert. And you’ll be really lucky if they don’t regard this as an act of terror if they find out it was you that did it.’ My dad automatically assumes that they’ll think: ‘A bomb threat made by someone from a non-Danish background is the same as terror’.”

ASM’s father advises him to turn himself in. When he leaves his parents’ place about midnight, he finds out that the police have arrested the owner of the car he borrowed when he left Fuglesangs Allé.

Tuesday 18 December 2012

Next day ASM talks to a friend who is studying law because he wants to know how to get the person the police have arrested released. This friend tells ASM that the only thing he can do is to turn himself in. Later the same day he talks to the elder brother of the person who’s been arrested. This brother also asks ASM to turn himself in.

“He says I should rest up for a couple of hours then pack a suitcase and get down to the police station.”

ASM admits everything.

Wednesday 19 December 2012

ASM and his fellow student are both released. 

Monday 23 September 2013

“There’s no defence for what I’ve done. Whatever I say and whatever I do in the future, I still did it. But I have decided to tell my story because it might stop other people from doing the same thing in a similar situation,” says ASM, adding that:

“I’ve moved on a bit now. It doesn’t dominate my life like it did in the months after Christmas. I’m meeting my barrister next week to work out the final details, because my court case is coming up soon. So I’ll have to go through it all again, and it’s going to take over my life until sentence is passed.”

Apologised to the rector

After the episode ASM wrote a letter to the rector to apologise for what he had done.

“I know there are no excuses for what I’ve done, but I tried to say ‘sorry’ by writing a letter to the rector. And by turning myself in to the police.”

He’s got no valid excuses. And nor can he find any valid explanations for what happened to him that day.

“I simply can’t explain what went on in my head that day. Unfortunately.”

ASM wishes to remain anonymous because he is now a student at a university where nobody knows his name. But the editor of Omnibus knows his full name.



The CPS has charged a total of three young people in the case, which is due to come before the court in Aarhus this month. The other two are pleading not guilty.

“All three of them have been charged under section 266 of the criminal code – also known as the ‘standard’ section on threats. They’ve also been charged under section 135, which is all about alerting the police without good reason,” says Rasmus Gyldenløve, the prosecutor from the East Jutland Police.

The prosecution also says that it is difficult to say much about the customary length of sentences passed in this kind of case.

Translated by Nicholas Wrigley