'Body in the boot' prank goes bad

Gympie dad makes prank call to the wrong person
Gympie dad makes prank call to the wrong person Max Fleet

AGITATED phone calls about a "body in the boot" may have turned out to be nasty hoaxes but they backfired severely for a Gympie prankster when he dialled a number he'd live to regret.

It didn't take long for police to come knocking on the door of 36-year-old father Mark Allan Johnstone's house after he dialled several random numbers, leaving messages asking what to do with bloody remains.

"There's a body in the boot and there's blood everywhere," was the kind of gruesome tale left for strangers, including one powerful recipient.

As Johnstone, under the influence of alcohol and cannabis, dialled a random number, he had no idea the man picking up the phone would be Queensland Ambulance Superintendent Neil Reid.

The unfortunate choice led to Supt Reid reporting the "very real" calls from Johnstone - whose number was traceable - to police and for charges to be laid.

In Gympie Magistrates Court on Monday, Johnstone pleaded guilty to using a carriage service to menace, harass or cause offence.

Defence lawyer Patrick Horgan said his client, a carpenter, admitted it was a "childish prank" which he would never have committed if he hadn't been drinking and using marijuana.

The court heard that when police charged Johnston on July 23, shortly after the phone calls were reported, they also seized 4.88g of marijuana.

Johnstone, a recovering heroine addict, used cannabis to ease back pain after he refused the offer from doctors to use morphine, it heard.

Johnstone pleaded guilty to both charges, as well as one of committing a public nuisance stemming from an altercation at Billy's Hotel in Mary St on July 20.

Magistrate Peter Haystead's sentencing remarks included telling Johnstone "to describe your (phone call) acts as foolish is very mild".

Mr Haystead sentenced Johnstone to one month jail, to be released into a two-year recognisance, for the "more serious kind of prank calls".

Gympie Times

Topics:  crime gympie prank call

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