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Victims who lived in fear of caller.

Victims of the bomb hoaxer yesterday recalled their fear when they received calls from Paul Bell last July.

The Rev Canon Murray Haig ( at the time the vicar of Alnwick ( received a series of calls threatening to bomb his church.

One of the calls said: "Christians will die."

He said: "They were very unpleasant threats, and they weren't just against me, they were against the church. In a sense the whole community was threatened.

"Although I knew it was probably a hoax, there was no way I could be sure about that, and I was responsible for people coming into the church, so it made life very difficult.

"He said the most dreadful things on the phone."

After a three-year sentence was handed down, Mr Haig, 66, who has since retired, said: "I hate to see anybody punished. I don't know him from Adam and presumably he didn't know me. But you really can't have people going around making threats like that. I think it's right he should be punished.

"But I bear him no malice. There are always reasons why people do what they do, and I do feel sorry for him. He's the instrument of his own misery."

Wade Sherman, 29, course co-ordinator for a team of students from St Cloud University, Minnesota, who travel each year to Alnwick Castle, received calls saying: "Death to America."

Speaking in April after Bell admitted the hoaxes, Mr Sherman said: "The first time he rang, he was on for a couple of hours and I just took the phone off the hook because it went on so long.

"It was clear that it was because I am American that he wanted to lay into me.

"We have a very close relationship with the police and I reported it immediately."
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Publication:The Journal (Newcastle, England)
Date:Jun 10, 2006
Words:298
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