South Shields 999 pest given jail warning after murder threat

Karen Harland has dialled 999 over 400 times in 16 years.
Karen Harland has dialled 999 over 400 times in 16 years.

A serial 999 phone pest who threatened to “murder someone” in a drunken rant has been warned she could face jail – if she doesn’t put her offending on hold.

A police officer had to be sent to the home of Karen Harland after she rang a force call handler to make the hoax claim.

These calls cause the emergency services immense trouble and deflect resources from people genuinely in need.

District Judge Roger Elsey

Harland, of Saint Michaels Avenue, South Shields, admitted sending an electronic communication which conveyed false information, when she appeared in the dock at South Tyneside Magistrates’ Court.

The court heard the 44-year-old had made 405 different calls to the police since 1999 – including 44 this year alone.

District Judge Roger Elsey was told that she suffers from mental health issues, but is seeking help to tackle her problems.

He agreed to defer her sentence, but blasted her for wasting emergency resources.

Rebecca Laverick, prosecuting, said: “On July 13 she rang 999 and said she was going to murder someone.

“A police officer was sent to her home address and found her displaying signs of drunkenness. She said if you don’t arrest me I will murder someone soon.

“She was arrested, but said in interview she had no intention to murder anyone and accepts it was a nuisance call.

“She has a caution from April for a similar offence and one from three years ago for wasting police time.”

Christopher Brown, defending, said: “This is a lady who has mental health difficulties, but is accepting help. The call handler has assessed the situation and sent one officer – not a mass of armed officers.

DJ Elsey said: “These calls cause the emergency services immense trouble and deflect resources from people genuinely in need.

“In your case I am aware you are accepting the help you need and for that reason I won’t sentence today.

“If you come back to court for new offences then all options will have to be considered, including imprisonment.”

Harland will be back at the court for sentencing on October 30.