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Serial 999 hoaxer called an ambulance for cut finger and sore stomach

Garry Donald leaving Aberdeen Sheriff Court.
Garry Donald leaving Aberdeen Sheriff Court.

A serial 999 time-waster called emergency services to tell them he had cut himself with a pen and that he had a sore stomach.

Garry Donald – who has previously been convicted of calling the emergency line hundreds of times, including to ask for a pizza – has now admitted two further offences.

On both occasions, call handlers sent police officers to the 49-year-old’s Aberdeen home where they found him drunk and not in need of any emergency care.

Fiscal depute Elle Barr told the court Donald called 999 at 8.10am on November 20 last year and ambulance crews asked police pay him a visit.

“He stated he had cut himself with a pen and there was a large deep wound as a result,” she said.

“Police arrived and the accused answered the door extremely intoxicated but clearly not injured.”

Police officers rushed to his aid

He was charged and appeared in court, where he was released on an undertaking not to make unnecessary emergency calls.

But less than a month later he called 999 again and, on that occasion, police thought he’d shared suicidal thoughts so rushed to his aid only to find him safe and well.

“He denied making suicidal comments and said he had called 999 due to stomach pain,” the fiscal added.

“He confirmed he was medically fine and just wanted to get to his bed.”

Donald admitted one charge of hindering police officers and another of breaching an undertaking not to do so.

Aberdeen Sheriff Court building
Aberdeen Sheriff Court.

In March and April last year he was fined £540 and £420 respectively for similar offences involving unnecessary 999 calls.

And in 2019 he made more than 100 unneceesary calls to police, even asking them to deliver him pizza on one occasion.

Donald’s defence agent Charlies Benzies said Donald lives a “very solitary life” and is a man who was very dependent on his father until his death last year.

“He is suffering from depression. I really think these calls are a cry for help,” he added.

“Police are well aware of his position and he has been kept in custody in the past. Social work is keeping an eye on him and he is under supervision.

“He is unfit for unpaid work due to chronic problems with his liver.

“Either you lock him up or he gets a financial penalty. But I am happy to say he advises me he has been alcohol-free for eight weeks.”

The solicitor added that his client needed to “stop drinking or wind up dead”.

‘This has to stop’

Sheriff Ian Duguid was told Donald received £600 in benefits so could pay another financial penalty.

“It doesn’t seem to me that imposing another financial penalty is in any way addressing his offending problem,” he said, opting instead to defer sentence for a year in the hope Donald sorts his alcohol problems out.

He told him: “There’s obviously a pattern here and as much as I can be sympathetic over you having a lifestyle where you are not supported by any family and alcohol is a big problem, the court is most concerned with you breaking the law.

“And that has to stop. These latest calls were made early in the morning presumably after a night of drinking.

“Presumably, if you stop drinking you will stop committing these offences.”

Donald, of Annat Bank, Aberdeen, was spared a fine and told to engage with his existing supervision order ahead of sentencing in May 2023.

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