A DRUNK dad brought part of his hometown to a standstill when he sparked a gas scare - then fell asleep.
While Wayne O’Shaugnessy was passed out in a drunken stupor, houses were evacuated, roads were dug up, bus services were stopped, shops were ordered to close and dozens of emergency worker were drafted to the scene.
Officers forced entry and they found the defendant under a duvet. He had been asleep throughout the whole of this process.Paul Rowland, prosecuting
Newcastle Crown Court heard the 33-year-old dad had warned his family via Facebook that he was going to blow up his house at Mill Terrace, Shiney Row, by turning on the gas.
Prosecutor Paul Rowland told the court his claim sparked a large-scale alert that lasted seven hours.
Mr Rowland said: “It sparked a turn of events that lasted for some hours.
“Police clearly took matters seriously.
“As a consequence, they were in attendance, together with gas service workers.
“An effort was made to isolate the gas supply to that particular property.
“It involved four excavations by the gas authorities in the surrounding area.
“There were three fire engines, 14 gas engineers.
“Disruption was caused to bus services and to local businesses and restaurants.
“Some residents were evacuated.
“Officers forced entry and they found the defendant under a duvet. He had been asleep throughout the whole of this process.”
O’Shaugnessy, who has been in custody since the scare last November 1, pleaded guilty to threatening to destroy property.
Judge Penny Moreland sentenced him to 18 months’ imprisonment, suspended for two years, with programme requirements.
The judge said his behaviour was “selfish and manipulative”.
The court heard O’Shaugnessy had recently split from his wife and had made similar threats in the weeks building up to the drama.
On one occasion he had set fire to his bedroom curtains and quickly put the flames out.
On another he had lit four gas rings on the cooker, which his estranged wife discovered and turned off.
On October 31 last year he had spent the night in a police cell after turning up drunk at his ex’s home.
The following morning he downed two bottles of wine and then sent the messages that spread the large-scale gas-blast alert.
Jamie Adams, defending, said: “He is ashamed and horrified at the havoc he caused.
“It was a great shock to him when he was confronted by the police breaking into his house after some hours of the stand-off because they were concerned as to what might happen.”
Mr Adams said O’Shaugnessy’s time in custody has caused him to detox and realise he has to make changes and build bridges with his family.
He added; “He is looking to repair the harm he has caused.”