Northern Ireland news

Nuisance caller who made more than 30 new requests for ambulances in 24-hour period jailed

Peter O'Toole refused to cooperate with paramedics

A persistent nuisance caller who made more than 30 new requests for ambulances in a 24-hour period has been jailed for five months.

Peter O’Toole refused to cooperate with paramedics when they repeatedly responded by going to his home in south Belfast.

Prosecutors also revealed that the 58-year-old was arrested while in the process of making a further 999 call.

O’Toole, of Dunluce Avenue, pleaded guilty to improper use of a public communications network.

Belfast Magistrates’ Court heard the Northern Ireland Ambulance Service received a total of 31 emergency calls between April 22 and 23 this year.

It was established that each of them were false or nuisance requests made by O’Toole.

“On three occasions an ambulance had been tasked to his home address,” a Crown lawyer said.

“He refused to engage with paramedics or attend hospital.”

The prosecutor added: “When police attended his address he was again on the telephone to the Ambulance Service.”

O’Toole committed the offences in breach of probation orders imposed for similar previous convictions.

The court heard his record of offending over the past four years was due to a combination of alcohol misuse, anxiety and poor mental health.

“He believes that he is having some kind of cardiac incident, panics and calls the Ambulance Service,” a defence barrister said. 

“It’s a serious matter because it diverts emergency resources and Mr O’Toole accepts that.”

Imposing five months' custody, District Judge George Conner agreed with that assessment.

He stated: “Other members of the public are being put at serious risk.”


Northern Ireland news