Barrow ‘vampire bite’ man jailed for 999 calls
Last updated at 15:10, Friday, 24 August 2012
A PERSISTENT crank caller who claimed to have been bitten by a vampire after drunkenly dialling 999 has been jailed.
The reasons Michael Alfred Shepherd gave for the calls ranged from nose bleeds to vomiting blood.
Shepherd confessed to “eating drugs” and having an alcohol problem but said he made the calls from genuine fears for his health.
He was found guilty of persistently using a public communication network to cause annoyance, inconvenience or anxiety following his trial in Furness Magistrates’ Court yesterday.
Shepherd, 35, of Egerton Court, made 25 calls to the North West Ambulance Service from January 14 to April 6. On February 6 Shepherd made a drunken call after taking diazepam and told operators he had toothache.
He dialled 999 at 1.46am on February 20 claiming he had been bitten by a vampire and needed treatment for alcohol dependency.
Mr Nigel Beeson, prosecuting, said: “On one occasion he said ‘I want help for alcohol dependency and I have been bitten by a vampire’.”
On March 24 Shepherd dialled 999 at around 8.45pm and asked for an ambulance. He said he could not walk. When paramedics arrived, Shepherd walked down a stairwell and it was noted he smelled of alcohol. He was taken to Furness General Hospital but he left before being treated.
At 2.20am on March 25 he again dialled 999 and police were dispatched due to the way he behaved towards paramedics on a previous visit, where they confiscated his phone. When asked by police why he left hospital before being treated, he told them: “Because I had to look after my hamster.”
The court heard Shepherd said: “I am an alcoholic, well I’m not an alcoholic but I do like a drink.
“When you wake in the middle of the night, on your own, and you’re coughing up blood what would you do?”
The court heard Shepherd had two previous convictions for making nuisance calls to the 999 number and had served 12 weeks and eight weeks in jail for the convictions.
When asked why he made the calls Shepherd said: “Because of my drinking. I felt that I needed medical attention.”
Shepherd was also sentenced for threatening to break a window in Furness Magistrates’ Court in order to get arrested and being drunk and disorderly at CADAS drug and alcohol centre in Barrow. He pleaded guilty to both offences.
Mr Jim Dunn, presiding magistrate, sentenced Shepherd to 126 days for making nuisance calls and 42 days for making threats to cause criminal damage.
An ASBO has been imposed for five years, preventing Shepherd from causing a nuisance at Furness General Hospital or its premises or remaining on hospital property after being asked to leave by police or hospital staff.
First published at 16:12, Thursday, 23 August 2012
Published by http://www.nwemail.co.uk
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...people like him really are a pain in the neck for the emergency services....makes my blood boil...