This is a fictional news story I completed as an assignment for the Professional Writing unit of BA (Hons) Communication and Media. It is written in the popular format of an inverted pyramid.
UNIVERSITY LECTURER ARRESTED FOR BANK ROBBERY WITH FAKE WEAPONS
A University lecturer has been arrested for robbing a Lansdowne bank just after 11am, Thursday February 18, using artificial weapons.
The robber, identified as Bournemouth University lecturer Georgina Pane, was arrested in Ringwood at around 12pm after she crashed her car into a telephone booth. Bournemouth Police Inspector Nicola Cooper said Pane was “shaken” and “in a trance” when the officers arrived at the scene of the accident.
Pane left HSBC, Royal London House, with around £4000 in her handbag, which has now been recovered. The gun she pulled out at the cashier has been identified as an imitation, along with what she claimed was a bomb inside a black package.
“She said it contained a bomb powerful enough to blow the whole building up,” Cooper said. Pane warned those inside the bank to stay there, “she said if they raised the alarm before she got away she would blow them all up sky-high”, Cooper added.
The package was later discovered to be just a cardboard box filled with metal and sand inside a black bin liner.
James Puis, a PhD student at Bournemouth University who used to teach alongside her, met Georgina Pane minutes before the robbery at Lansdowne KFC.
“She was sitting by the window, fiddling with a cup of coffee,” he said, “she hardly recognised me…
“She was agitated and not quite there… I have never seen her like that.”
Southampton resident Pane was treated at the Royal Bournemouth Hospital for shock after the accident, and has been charged with robbery and conspiracy. However, she claimed, as she left the courtroom, that it was a “conspiracy” and she wasn’t ever at the crime scene.
Puis added, “The Georgina I know is not that kind of person. I am sure it is not the way the police say it is. There has to be some explanation.”
Witness Daniel Jackson, also a PhD student at Bournemouth University, was behind Pane in the queue in the branch before she reached the cashier and pulled out a gun. He said that she didn’t seem herself and kept looking around and in her handbag.
“I could see she was not herself… It was really horrible when she pulled that gun. She was very nervous and it was shaking in her hand.” Jackson also said that he was worried that her shaking would cause Georgina to accidently shoot someone.
HSBC Regional Manager David Brood defended the security at Dorset banks, saying “We do have sufficient security at the bank, which alerted the police within seconds of the attempt… I think we coped with it very well.” He said that the staff kept calm and under control, and that he was “glad nobody was hurt and the robbery was foiled.”
This incident was the 18th bank robbery in Bournemouth this year, two more than last year. In recent months, there has also been a surge in the number of violent crimes, including 20 stabbings and three murders, according to Cooper.
Bournemouth University Vice-Chancellor Professor Gill Slammer would not comment on the situation involving University staff, only to say “This is not a reflection on our staff here.”