Pervert pestered charity with calls

DAVID WOODS - jailed for making hoax calls to Childline
DAVID WOODS - jailed for making hoax calls to Childline
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A PERVERT caused chaos by bombarding ChildLine with hundreds of calls - in which he falsely claimed he was sexually abusing a nine-year-old girl, an appeal court heard.

David Wood’s calls cost the charity thousands of pounds - and upset some staff so much they no longer wanted to volunteer.

The 46-year-old fantasist, of Jedburgh Drive, Wincobank, Sheffield, was jailed for three years at Sheffield Crown Court last April, after he admitted causing a public nuisance.

Details of his behaviour were revealed as he tried to have his sentence cut - an appeal thrown out by top judges who said the term was ‘not excessive’.

The judges said it was ‘impossible’ to categorise his offending - and his ‘assaults on the ears of staff’ who answered his calls.

Judge Warwick McKinnon QC told the court ChildLine’s 14 UK offices received 889 calls from Wood between July and December 2010. Each one made to the freephone number - intended for children in distress - cost the charity £4, so Wood’s offending totalled £3,500.

Staff referred to the unknown caller as the ‘Ecclesfield male abuser’. He gave disturbing and graphic accounts of sexual abuse, claiming he was molesting his nine-year-old daughter. In fact, Wood had no children and was fabricating the abuse for his own sexual gratification.

Many volunteers, who the judge said cost £1,500 each to train, were so distressed they wanted to give up their charitable work.

The judge said the large volume of phone calls also potentially prevented children in need from speaking to a counsellor.

Wood was first handed a fixed penalty notice and then a three-month suspended sentence in September 2010, but continued to call the charity.

He even persisted after being arrested, and used several SIM cards and withheld his number in an attempt to evade police.

He also made about 400 calls to the Samaritans during the same period, and had a previous conviction for bombarding the charity with 3,000 calls.

He also had previous convictions for sending offensive letters, wasting police time and harrassing a neighbour with explicit text messages.

A psychiatric report revealed he had no mental illness, but was ‘isolated’ and abused alcohol.

Head of ChildLine Sue Minto said: “David Wood called 889 times, which could mean 889 children needing help could not get through.

“We welcome the court’s decision to uphold his sentence.”