A MAN who has repeatedly faced court for falsely calling the emergency services has been jailed, despite having a long history of mental health issues.

Anthony Walters, 60, formerly of St John’s Road, has been sentenced to 16 months in prison for two counts of breaching his criminal behaviour order.

After a mental health assessment, determining whether he was fit to plead, Walters pleaded guilty to breaking the terms of his order and wrongfully calling the emergency services 99 times between August 2022 and March 2023 and May and July of last year.

Walters had conditions not to call 999 unless it was a genuine emergency.

Charlie Gabb, prosecuting, highlighted the severity of Walters’ previous 32 convictions including a robbery and other breaches of criminal behaviour orders.

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Richard Martin, mitigating, said: “This is a difficult case for sentence. He is vulnerable. It appears that there is not a consensus to which disorders he suffers from. This is a defendant who clearly struggled for many years.

“I concede that previous convictions will make matters worse but there should be a balance when one considers the mental health of the defendant.

“One can imagine that the level of help he will get in prison is not going to get him in a much better position come his release date. However long a sentence, he comes out to society back at square one. There may be some benefit in allowing him to respond to the assistance of probation.

“He’s been gravely affected by the bereavement of his mother. It may be that there is an awakening in him and he can change. He wants to do something and try.

Mr Martin recommended a suspended sentence, with Walters planning to rebuild his life in Cheshire where he has family.

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Sentencing at Winchester Crown Court on Monday, February 26, Lord Justice Andrew Edis, said: “You made 99 false calls to the emergency services, often to the police but also to hospital, sometimes saying that you had a gun which you were intending to use on yourself and sometimes making enquiries about guns.

“The effect of all that is very substantial diversion of scarce resources from people who desperately need them into there being wasted dealing with you and your false emergencies. To do that 99 times is a very serious and causes substantial harm. Your criminal record for the same king of behaviour is very serious as well.

“Many interventions by courts in the past have made no difference at all. The multiple breaches demonstrate there is a continuing risk. I have concluded that an immediate sentence is necessary.”

Walters’ sentence was reduced from two years to 16 months after he was given full credit for his guilty plea. The Lord Chief Justice ruled against a suspended sentence due to his “history of poor compliance”.

Calling out to the Judge, Walters, who wore a navy suit, blue shirt and maroon tie, said: “Don’t send me down your honour, please. May I appeal it, my lord?”

Walters must serve eight months before his release, after which he will be on licence. If he reoffends, he will be recalled to serve the rest of the 16-month sentence and could be given more time.