Angry father ambushes his estranged wife and children at an airport food court brandishing a knife and a fake bomb while yelling he had ‘snake venom’ in his spiked wristbands
- Gamal Elsaied Elboushi took a knife and fake bomb into Brisbane airport in 2019
- The 51-year-old then chased his estranged wife and kids around the terminal
- The incident prompted ‘mass panic’ as everyone was evacuated from the airport
- Elboushi has pleaded guilty to a string of charges and will be sentenced Tuesday
A knife-wielding man wore spiked armbands he claimed were tipped with snake venom when he chased his estranged wife through Brisbane Airport before pulling a fake bomb out of a suitcase.
Gamal Elsaied Elboushi pleaded guilty to a string of charges related to the 2019 incident, which prompted mass panic as the airport was evacuated.
The 52-year-old was also carrying a gas mask when he smuggled the knife and fake bomb into the airport inside a suitcase to ‘uphold the facade’ he was travelling.
Gamal Elsaied Elboushi (pictured) has pleaded guilty to a string of charges after ambushing his estranged wife at Brisbane airport in February 2019
Elboushi, an award-winning cinematographer, threatened to stab himself to death and told police he was happy to die that day.
He wore wristbands into which he had inserted needles – poking outwards – warning police they contained snake venom.
Elboushi also told officers he had a mask in case they used gas to subdue him.
His actions on February 2, 2019, prompted mass panic, with people fleeing Brisbane International Airport’s food court, Ms Kelso told the Brisbane District Court on Monday.
But his crimes will have a ‘grave and long-lasting impact’ for his ex-wife and daughters.
Elboushi smuggled a knife and fake bomb (pictured) into the airport in a suitcase then chased his estranged wife
Ms Kelso said the educated and mature man had gone to great effort to ‘effectively ambush his family’ at the airport and his actions weren’t on the spur-of-the-moment.
He disguised his vehicle so they would not be alerted to his presence if he arrived before them.
‘He also went to considerable effort to firstly acquire, and then create, a realistic bomb, something that he had some confidence in doing given his previous employment in the movie arena,’ Ms Kelso said.
‘He must have known the fear and terror that his acts would cause.’
Ms Kelso said the motive for his terrifying rampage ‘could only be malicious and self-serving’.
‘He identified to an officer he had needles poking through the bands on his wrists and those had snake venom in them,’ she 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.’
But defence barrister Angus Edwards said Elboushi’s actions, while appalling, were not malicious.
‘He was too absorbed in his own emotional pain,’ Mr Edwards told the court.
‘There is no doubt what he did was appalling and was not going to achieve what he hoped would achieve.
‘He just wanted to see his children… he went about it in a criminal way.
The 2019 incident caused ‘mass panic’ as everyone was evacuated from the airport (pictured)
‘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 Edward said Elboushi attacked in jail six times by prisoners who thought he was a terrorist.
Elboushi surrendered peacefully to police after about 90 minutes, although it was another two hours before airport operations returned to normal.
During that time, 16 departing and arriving aircraft were delayed, costing the airport more than $1 million.
Officers also evacuated part of a Surfers Paradise building when Elboushi said there was a second device in a car. That too was found to be a hoax.
Mr Edwards said Elboushi moved from Egypt to Australia in 2011, but could only get work as a security officer despite having accolades and awards for his work in the film industry.
Brisbane District Court Judge Sheridan will sentence Elboushi on Tuesday.
Lifeline 13 11 14
beyondblue 1300 22 4636
1800 RESPECT (1800 737 732)