A Fairy Meadow serial hoaxer who summoned police and ambulance services to her home at least 10 times in five days has been sentenced to nine months in jail.
Linda Patricia Findlay emerged from a prison cell to front Wollongong Local Court yesterday, charged with making ‘‘vexatious’’ triple-0 calls.
The court heard details of a series of false alarms raised by Findlay, 60, between January 11 and January 15.
In one call, she complained the electricity to her home had been turned off.
Sometimes she used an alias and she repeatedly made claims - later investigated by police and found to be false - that she had been sexually assaulted.
Responding to one of the calls late on January 14, police waited for several minutes outside Findlay’s apartment before she came to the door ‘‘well-affected by intoxicating liquor ... unsteady on her feet’’, according to documents tendered to the court.
‘‘The accused’s speech was slurred, eyes bloodshot and she appeared dishevelled, with stained clothes and food on her face.’’
Findlay was arrested on January 15 after she dialled triple-0 to request ambulance services.
Both police and ambulance responded, finding Findlay in her living room, with no physical or mental emergency.
Asked directly if she needed to go to hospital, Findlay answered: "No".
Police and ambulance personnel compared details of the previous calls and Findlay was taken away in a caged police vehicle.
The court heard Findlay had a lengthy criminal history in relation to public mischief offences and had been repeatedly jailed over the years for making false calls to emergency services.
Defence barrister Jane Healey told the court Findlay's behaviour was related to both her alcoholism and an acquired brain injury.
"The sentences in prison haven't helped," she said.
"She's now older and really sick and vulnerable."
Findlay told the court she had stayed sober for two years, a period that coincided with a gap in her criminal history.
Ms Healey said her client was "genuine about her desire to refrain from alcohol" and understood she had erred in busying emergency services workers with non-emergencies.
"She suffers more than anybody from her own [actions]," Ms Healey said.
Magistrate Geraldine Beattie said Findlay's calls were potentially costly for people who dialled triple-0 with genuine emergencies.
"People like you making calls like that doesn't help," she said.
"This is the 17th time you have been charged with that sort of offence."
Findlay was sentenced to nine months' prison, with a two-month non-parole period.
Should she get parole next month, she would be required to spend a further seven months in rehabilitation.