Tuesday, September 13, 2016

Prank caller's claims he had affair with man's wife caused 'nothing but problems' for couple

A malicious caller caused “nothing but problems” for a married couple after making false accusations of an affair, a court heard. Billy Lee, 22, targeted the pair using a withheld number before making allegations that he had slept with the woman. He made seven calls that night, then they never heard from him again. But for his victims, the impact of his prank call was to have a long-lasting and damaging effect.

Lynn Dalton, prosecuting, told Teesside Magistrates’ Court how Lee from Brambles Farm, Middlesbrough , first told the woman he was called “Little John”. As she had a family member known by the name she began to chat to him. But she soon realised it was not her relative, and the phone went dead. Shortly after, Lee called her back and her husband took the phone and began arguing with him. When Lee called again, he made the damaging allegations. “She asked who he was and his response was she should know, because she had slept with him lots of times,” said Ms Dalton. “She was angry because she had been accused of something she hadn’t done.”

Her husband grabbed the phone and asked the defendant to answer personal questions about his wife, such as details of distinctive tattoos. “He couldn’t answer any questions,” said Ms Dalton. The court heard how the pair, who have been married for six years, had been seriously affected by Lee’s call. The woman believed the offence, on the night of April 7, was instigated by a third party with whom she had previously had an argument. Lee denied that, and no charges were brought against the woman. In a statement, the wife said she had never had an affair and the phone call had caused the couple “nothing but problems”.

Regarding her husband, she said: “He is paranoid everywhere I go now.” And their relationship “would never be the same”, she added. Lee admitted sending a communication of an indecent nature. Sarah Lish, defending, said: “He thought it was a prank and yet what he’s done and said has caused a great deal of anguish.” She added that he had not repeated the offence. District Judge Martin Walker gave Lee a one-year community order and ordered him to carry out 80 hours of unpaid work. He told him: “This offence is serious and it’s serious because you caused a lot of upset and harm which is continuing and won’t go away.”

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