A phone pest who made more than 40 abusive calls to the ambulance service and threatened to behead Muslims has been handed a suspended prison sentence.
George McBain clogged up the 111 system for genuine callers during his numerous outbursts in December, Sunderland Magistrates’ Court heard.
The court heard the 55-year-old was drunk and on a cocktail of prescribed medication when he made 39 phone calls to the North East Ambulance Service on December 7, and five on December 29.
District Judge Edward Barr said: “The first series of phone calls, on December 12, are of what can best be described as abuse to the operator.
“On December 29, there were very similar phone calls, culminating in threats to behead Muslims and that there would be Muslims nearby that would be damaged.”
Prosecutor Rebecca Laverick said: “The North East Ambulance Service have indicated that the magnitude of calls was thereby preventing others getting through by diverting the attention of staff and delaying genuine telephone calls.”
It’s the Sword of Damocles hanging over you – it’s a big sword – don’t let it drop on youDistrict Judge Edward Barr
McBain, of The Royaly, Sunderland, admitted two counts of sending a malicious communication.
Probation officer Alan Cutting said McBain has been deemed unfit for work, due to suffering from epilepsy and a form of Parkinson’s disease and is on “a cocktail of medication”. He is also a carer for his mother, who is in her eighties.
“It all stems from him being the victim of a burglary,” Mr Cutting said. “He started drinking very, very heavily.
“He says he can’t remember or recollect the majority of these calls. He admits it because he has heard the recordings. He is deeply ashamed of his behaviour.
“It would seem that alcohol played a big part in the behaviour, but it is uncalled-for behaviour.”
Ian Haq, defending, said McBain had initially made the calls to ask for help because his GP would no longer prescribe him Valium, which he had been taking for 25 years.
McBain became frustrated, Mr Haq added, when he was told that the service was not able to overrule his GP.
“He made comments that were deeply unpleasant, causing distress,” he said.
Judge Barr said: “The offences of December 7 and 29, were so serious because of their nature, that only a custodial sentence can be justified.
“However, rest assured that I am not going to make that immediate custody.
“You know you’ve done wrong and you are genuinely remorseful and ashamed of yourself.
“If on any one day you have a drink and you pick up that phone and you do something similar, you will be back in court and you will be going to custody.”
McBain was sentenced to eight weeks’ imprisonment, suspended for a year, with £85 costs and a £80 victim surcharge.
“It’s the Sword of Damocles hanging over you – it’s a big sword – don’t let it drop on you,” the judge warned him.
McBain said: “I’m deeply sorry, I am. I can’t believe what I’ve done. I am ashamed.”