Hoax call led to horrific crash
A PLUMBER whose hoax 999 call led to a fire engine crashing and seriously injuring a moped rider escaped jail yesterday by “a whisker”. Aaron Taylor thanked magistrates after receiving 240 hours community punishment and a fine of £2,000 but afterwards the mother of the injured rider said the 20-year-old should have been jailed.
A PLUMBER whose hoax 999 call led to a fire engine crashing and seriously injuring a moped rider escaped jail yesterday by “a whisker”.
Aaron Taylor thanked magistrates after receiving 240 hours community punishment and a fine of £2,000 but afterwards the mother of the injured rider said the 20-year-old should have been jailed.
Taylor made a series of 999 calls to report fictional emergencies in the Clacton area and it was while a fire engine was responding to a bogus shed fire that it crashed.
He later blamed his brother, Wesley, for making the calls in the summer of 2004.
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Moped rider Ian Gillick, 24, of Clacton, was left with multiple fractures and has undergone four major operations although he still cannot walk properly and has not returned to his work as a builder.
Speaking after the case, Mr Gillick's mother, Linda, said she believed Taylor should have been jailed to teach him a lesson and send out a message that hoax callers would not be tolerated.
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She said: “I am disappointed with the sentence. How far does this 'whisker' go? I did not want him to go away for years, but I just don't think he realises what he has done.
“He is still walking around two years after it happened, whereas my son has not recovered, it just makes me angry really.
“If he could see what Ian has gone through, that might have been a wake up call for him.
“A prison sentence would have put others off making hoax calls, I would hate anyone to have to go through what we have.”
Colchester magistrates told Taylor, who entered the court with a hood over his face in a bid not to be photographed: “The bench regards this as an extremely serious matter and I can tell you that you are escaping a custodial sentence by a whisker.”
Charlotte Eadie, mitigating, said Taylor was a young man in full time employment, regarded by his employers as reliable and a hard worker.
Last month Taylor, of Skelmersdale Road, Clacton, was convicted of four charges of making hoax calls
Taylor made six calls between April 3 and July 1 2004, and officers from Stanway road policing unit phoned the mobile which had been used.
Taylor returned the call and gave his name and his contact number which was the same as the one used in the hoaxes.
He was arrested on December 6 2004 and during police interview he first denied making any of the calls before saying if it had been him he could not remember doing it and apologised.
But a voice recognition expert concluded that it had been highly probable it was Taylor's voice on three of the tapes and “more likely than not” on another two recordings.
Tests were also done on Wesley Taylor's voice but it did not match that of the hoax caller.
n Essex County Fire and Rescue Service revealed yesterday it had received 1181 hoax calls between April 2005 and March 2006.
John Bromley, senior divisional officer for community safety, said: “We welcome this sentence against Aaron Taylor and feel that 240 hours community punishment and costs of £2,000 awarded against him is an entirely appropriate punishment for someone whose irresponsible action put a great many people from his community in danger.
“Hoax calls are a real problem for all the emergency services. Every hoax uses up valuable resources which are there to protect the community and could be needed at a genuine incident.
“As a service we put a great deal of effort into tracing hoax callers and with the help of Essex Police will pursue prosecution against anyone making such calls.”