Conditional Discharge For Woman Who "Bombarded" Health Team With Threatening Phone Calls

THREATS of suicide and arson were made by Kay Cousins as she bombarded a health service team with phone calls. On one occasion she phoned from a railway station, saying I am going to jump, and the tape recorded a train passing. The 48-year-old made so m

THREATS of suicide and arson were made by Kay Cousins as she bombarded a health service team with phone calls.

On one occasion she phoned from a railway station, saying "I am going to jump," and the tape recorded a train passing.

The 48-year-old made so many calls that the answer phone tape for Newmarket Community Mental Health Team was sometimes completely filled up.

And a member of staff who had to listen to her distressing calls - and then type them up - felt harassed by her behaviour.


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Appearing before Ely magistrates on Thursday, Cousins - who is already subject to an anti social behaviour order - denied a charge of harassment. But she was found guilty after her trial.

Her barrister Charles Snelling said: "The calls were not made in a malicious manner; she was trying to get help.

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"Any member of the public would not believe that leaving such messages in that environment would amount to harassment."

The calls were made between January 31 and October 23 2008, said prosecutor Sally Rose.

"She had been referred to them for assistance, but they were not able to help her further," she explained. "She regularly rang the team, quite often out of hours, resulting in a large number of messages that filled up the answer phone tape."

The calls included threats to kill other people, threats to burn property, and threats to blow things up.

In the witness box, Cousins said: "It was a request for help from the team; the receptionist was simply the call taker." She added. "It was never my intention to cause distress to her."

After reading a transcript of the calls, presiding magistrate Mary Rone said: "The number, frequency, length and content of the calls would be seen as harassment to a reasonable person."

The court declined to extend the terms of Cousins' ASBO, which bans her from calling the police or ambulance service except in an emergency. She was given an 18-month conditional discharge.

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