1. ITV Report

90-year-old back in dock for 'abusive 999 calls'

Lena Taylor. Photo: NCJ Media Syndication

A pensioner found herself back in court after she was accused of making hundreds of abusive 999 calls, including one demanding to be taken to bingo.

90-year-old Lena Taylor was convicted of making nuisance calls to the emergency services in July. She received a two-year conditional discharge.

But Taylor was at North Tyneside Magistrates again this month, accused of making yet more abusive calls.

The court heard that the pensioner, from Churchill Street, Wallsend, made more than 400 calls to the North East Ambulance Service between July 14 and August 30, putting a great strain on resources.

During one of the incidents, another caller - reporting a baby who had stopped breathing - was held in a queue.

Prosecutor Bethany Jendrzejewski said there had been 420 calls to 999 and 103 to the 111 NHS number.

Mrs Taylor's telephone calls are aggressive in nature and trust staff are repeatedly being abused, insulted and sworn at. And this is causing distress to staff.

In one call, from July 22, at 11.27am, she said 'I've done my dinner, I need someone to take me to bingo to keep me calm. Stop f****** messing around with me. I'm not going to sit in this house all day'.

– Prosecutor Bethany Jendrzejewski

Ms Jendrzejewski said these incidents were having an impact on the emergency service's ability to deal with other callers.

Taylor, who came into court using a walking stick, pleaded guilty to a malicious communications offence.

In mitigation, solicitor Mark Harrison said his client, who lived alone and was vulnerable, needed an appropriate care package to help her and suggested that a mental health assessment should be carried out.

She had not committed any offence prior to her 90th birthday.

However one looks at Mrs Taylor, whether you take a sympathetic view or that she is a nuisance, it's a matter of huge sadness that a lady of her age, free from convictions until after her 90th birthday, now places herself at risk of a criminal behaviour order or imprisonment.

This requires not the criminal justice system but the care system.

It's fair to say that until very recently, Mrs Taylor has not received, whether by design or lack of resources, any significant input from the care teams.

There now is in place a care package.

Here is a lady for whom there are clear gaps in her ability of thinking clearly.

– Mark Harrison, mitigating

He also said Taylor was now considering moving into sheltered accommodation.

Magistrates adjourned the case until November 2 to allow pre-sentence reports to be prepared.