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Last Updated: Sunday, 10 October, 2004, 08:11 GMT 09:11 UK
999 hoaxer vows to give up
Thelma Dennis
Thelma Dennis says she has had enough of the calls
A woman who has been to prison 12 times for making hoax phone calls has vowed to stop.

Thelma Dennis has made around 2,000 hoax calls to emergency services since 1996.

She has tried to stop by seeking professional help and undergoing electric shock therapy.

Ms Dennis, who is in her 40s, says she wants to maintain a relationship with her 12-year-old daughter who is in foster care.

Ms Dennis was last released from prison before Christmas 2003, and now claims her hoax phone calls are over.

I started making false phone calls just to have someone to talk to
Thelma Dennis

"I'm not going to do it again, I've had enough," she said.

"I want to see my daughter and I'm getting on a bit."

Ms Dennis from Mountain Ash described on a BBC programme, Cry Wolf, how she felt butterflies in her stomach and how her heart used to beat faster when she made the hoax calls.

"Once I've done it, made the phone call, my heart starts to slow down and the butterflies disappear," she said.

'Assault'

Forensic psychologist Jackie Craissati believes attention is the main motivation for individuals making hoax calls.

Fire engines
People's lives are put in danger by hoax calls, says the fire service

"The primary aim is to get rid of a bad feeling and to feel for a moment than one is important," she said.

Ms Dennis told the Cry Wolf programme that she was the victim of a serious sexual assault when she was 14.

"I told my mother about it but she ignored me but I've kept it in my mind all these years," she said.

"I started making false phone calls just to have someone to talk to."

Hoax callers cost taxpayers half a million pounds each year and put people's lives in danger, according to South Wales Fire and Rescue Service.

From April 2003 to March 2004, around 1,112 malicious 999 calls were made in the fire service's area.




SEE ALSO:
Warning about hoax call dangers
17 May 04  |  England
Rise in hoax fire calls
27 May 04  |  Northern Ireland


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