'Fantasist' jailed over police claims

A FANTASIST who wasted 50 hours of police time at the height of the major investigation into the Ipswich red light killings has been jailed.District Judge David Cooper said 44-year-old Andrew Purdy had obtained gratification and a sense of importance by pretending to be a significant witness in the case, which attracted worldwide attention.

A FANTASIST who wasted 50 hours of police time at the height of the major investigation into the Ipswich red light killings has been jailed.

District Judge David Cooper said 44-year-old Andrew Purdy had obtained gratification and a sense of importance by pretending to be a significant witness in the case, which attracted worldwide attention.

But South East Suffolk Magistrates' Court yesterday heard it was not the first time that Purdy, of Lower Street, Baylham, had given false information to police.

He was convicted in 1995 after a bomb hoax and again in 1998 following his claims that milk products had been contaminated.


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Sentencing Purdy to three months in prison, District Judge Cooper said he hoped it would act as a deterrent to those of his “ilk”.

In December, Purdy, who described himself as a property developer, was featured in newspapers after attending a memorial service for the five sex workers who were the victims of the Ipswich killings. He claimed to have known some of the young women and said he was a friend to other prostitutes.

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But in court he was described as a “sad and stupid man” as well as a lonely and forlorn character.

Kate Miller, prosecuting, said he had contacted police 27 times during December last year and January, with an estimated £1,046-worth of officer time spent investigating his claims that his life and property were being threatened.

Police also installed a panic alarm at his home and £181 from the public purse was spent on twice putting him up at the Ipswich Holiday Inn.

District Judge Cooper said: “Mr Purdy, unfortunately you are the kind of fantasist who obtains gratification and a sense of importance by, in this case, pretending to be a significant prosecution witness in a case that attracted a huge amount of public attention.

“What this led to was police officers being diverted from their proper duties and, I am told, 50 hours of police time, which seems a huge amount of time, was devoted to you and your false claims instead of being devoted to their proper duties.

“It is not the first time you have appeared for this type of fantasy offence.

“Mr Duckworth (Ian Duckworth, mitigating) is right: you are forlorn. You are pathetic.

“There is an argument that 'why should Mr Purdy waste more public money by being in prison?' It seems to me that it is necessary to pass a deterrent sentence so people of your ilk do not come forward and do not waste a good deal of police time. An immediate sentence of imprisonment is unavoidable.”

Purdy claimed to have been threatened in text messages and phone calls to his mobile phone as well as in person.

Miss Miller said that because there was such a large number of incidents reported, enquiries were made by CID officers to establish if they were true or false. This included contacting Purdy's mobile phone network and resulted in his arrest.

In his police interview he initially claimed his reasons for reporting the incidents were genuine, Miss Miller said.

But after detectives confronted him with mobile phone evidence, she said Purdy agreed his statements were untrue. Officers said he apologised but had not shown remorse.

Mr Duckworth said Purdy, who earlier pleaded guilty to wasting police time, had not offended until he was 33 and said his convictions showed that “every so often” there were triggers in his personal life that sparked his behaviour.

Suffolk police said they would not be commenting on the case.

n Steve Wright, 48, of London Road, Ipswich, has been charged with murdering the five women - Tania Nicol, 19, Gemma Adams, 25, Anneli Alderton, 24, Paula Clennell, 24, and Annette Nicholls, 29 - and is next due to appear in court in May.

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