Why man went on terrifying bomb hoax rampage at airport
A man who used a fake bomb to bring a Queensland airport to a standstill had "malicious and self-serving" motivations to cause mass panic and instil fear in the public.
Longing to see his children after separating from his wife, Gamal Elsaied Elboushi hatched a desperate plan that culminated in a dramatic standoff at Brisbane International Airport last year.
His terrified family and other passengers scrambled away after he ambushed them at the terminal, before brandishing a knife and threatening to detonate a fake bomb.
Even while surrounded by police the Gold Coast man remained defiant, saying he didn't care whether he died and had needles filled with "snake venom" in his wristbands.
Details of the 52-year-old's terrifying rampage were revealed at Brisbane District Court on Monday.
Elboushi, a prominent cinematographer and film producer who had won awards for his work, sat silently in the dock during the sentencing hearing.
He had pleaded guilty in March to a string of charges, including making a bomb hoax, unlawful stalking, possessing a weapon and making a false statement which can be inferred that there is a plan to damage or destroy a commonwealth air navigation facility.
Crown prosecutor Elizabeth Kelso detailed his meticulous and elaborate plan, spurred over his desperation to see his young daughters.
Elboushi, from Egypt, and his ex-wife had separated in 2017 but he was able to track their movements using a Google search history obtained from one of his daughters.
He even travelled to Caboolture on three occasions to find the trio.
On February 2, 2019, he "ambushed" his family at the airport after confirming the flight details of his ex-wife's mother.
Dramatic footage was played to the court showing Elboushi chasing his ex-wife and daughters through the terminal, before brandishing a knife in the food court.
Panicking passengers scrambled away as he placed the fake bomb - concealed in a suitcase - on a table before revealing what looked like a detonator.
Ms Kelso said police and a nearby security officer displayed "significant restraint" and bravery over the next three hours as Elboushi entered a standoff with authorities.
She said Elboushi attempted to kick the security guard off-screen.
"He identified to an officer he had needles poking through the bands on his wrists and those had snake venom in them," Ms Kelso said.
"When the officers raised there were still families in the area ... he told officers he did not care.
"He told police his aim was to return to Egypt with his daughters."
More officers were deployed to a location in Surfers Paradise car park after Elboushi told police another IED was in that area.
"His motive for those could only be malicious and self-serving," she said.
He was subdued when officers shot him with non-lethal bean bag rounds.
Police found a gas mask which Elboushi said was in case some sort of gas was deployed to subdue him.
During his police interview, he revealed how he was able to locate his family and expressed "displeasure of women having the same rights as men in Australia".
Defence lawyer Angus Edwards said Elboushi's offending was akin to "a cry for help".
"There is no doubt what he did was appalling and was not going to achieve what he hoped would achieve," Mr Edwards said.
"He just wanted to see his children - he went about it in a criminal way.
"It's a cruel irony that a man who was in such emotional distress over not being able to see his daughters for over 12 months has created for himself a situation where the time in which he'll be able to see his children in the future is that much further away."
Mr Edwards said his client was remorseful and while his offending was self-interested, it could not be considered "malicious" as he was too focused on his own emotional pain.
"He clearly hadn't considered how much this would have affected his children," he said.
"He was overwhelmed by feelings of frustration and emotion."
Mr Edwards submitted Elboushi's time in custody would be harsher as English was not his first language and he had a number of health issues.
He said Elboushi had been assaulted six times in pre-sentence custody by prisoners who thought he was a "terrorist".
Judge Suzanne Sheridan adjourned Elboushi's sentencing to Tuesday to consider her decision.
Originally published as Why man went on terrifying bomb hoax rampage at Brisbane airport