Heacham woman made hundreds of hoax 999 calls

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Magistrates said a desperate woman’s nuisance calls to emergency services threatening to kill herself must stop – before someone else dies.

Mirijana Payne made hundreds of 999 and 101 calls to Norfolk Constabulary and the East of England Ambulance Service saying she was going to harm herself, and that the police and NHS had “ruined her life”.

The disabled 56-year-old escaped jail at Lynn Magistrates’ Court on Tuesday, when chairman of the bench Meher Vanner told her: “Your calls took the place of someone else in a real emergency – there could have been a child dying. It’s got to stop.”

Payne, of Neville Road, Heacham, was sentenced to eight weeks in prison, suspended for 12 months, with a 12-month supervision and mental health treatment requirement, after she admitted three charges of persistently making nuisance calls at a previous hearing.

Yvonne Neill, prosecuting, said Payne had a history of making nuisance calls dating back to July 2009, starting with Norfolk emergency services when she moved to the area in January 2013.

She said Payne was drunk when she made many of the calls, which wasted numerous police and paramedic hours to deal with, and cost the services thousands of pounds.

She also said the problem became so bad that several multi-agency meetings were held with the police, ambulance service, mental health team, Payne’s GP, social services and probation to try and help her, but to no avail.

“On July 19 last year the defendant agreed to not make any more calls to the emergency services unless there was a genuine emergency and signed an agreement, but she breached it the very next day,” said Ms Neill.

In mitigation, Nick Barnes told the court Payne had “many complex needs” including physical disability, mental health issues and an alcohol problem. He said: “She felt she was in a crisis and used the emergency services for help. She really wants to tackle it, but it’s not that easy for her.”