News

'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



Firies: Don't be the one to light a bushfire this weekend

Conditions are ripe for a fire disaster today and tomorrow.

Very high fire risk warning for Wide Bay, Burnett

"Wake up you doughy lot, and stop with the 'local' rubbish"

LET IT GO: This letter writer supports the petition for an inquiry into Gympie Regional Council but says wanting to hold on to the "good old days” when only locals got the big jobs will hinder what the petition is trying to achieve.

Letter writer supports petition but says let go of the "old days"

Kybong 'piggery' is not a 'pigsty': letter

Letter says proposed Kybong piggery is not a pigsty.

Letter says proposed Kybong piggery is NOT a pigsty

Local Partners

10 of the worst wedding day disasters

Getting hitched without a hitch. That's the aim, right?

Trump's comments make light of statutory rape

Trevor Noah has gone to town on Donald Trump's sexism

Forza Horizon 3 review: Australia's never looked so good

Fancy racing a freight train?

Byron Bay, Gold Coast, Sunshine Coast, Twelve Apostles feature

Tommy goes home in emotional Bachelorette episode

The Bachelorette contestant Tommy Saggus.

BRISBANE bachelor hopes show will give him more confidence.

Talented young musicians hitting all the right notes

PITCH PERFECT: Gympie High School Students Eliza Parker and Sarah Thomas ahead of their big weekend at the Conservatorium in Brisbane.

YOUNG Gympie musicians are hitting the next level.

Builder and roofer are cleared in faded roof case

CLEARED: a Gympie builder has been cleared of blame for sunscreen damage to a roof.

Gympie builder cleared over sunscreen damage claim

Beach-side real estate starts at $85k on Fraser Coast

HERVEY BAY REAL ESTATE: You can buy this townhouse in Scarness for under $300k.

Live your beach-living dream locally.

Gympie Century 21 owner forges his own path

ON THE ROAD TO SUCCESS: Billy Mitchell (right) with Queensland franchise manager at Century 21, Glenn Stanton.

It's been a meteoric rise over the past few years for Billy Mitchell

$40million hotel, shops development project for Mackay

Mt Pleasant hotel and retirement accommodation, proposed at 194-202 Malcomson St.

$40m development to take Mackay to 'the next level'

Huge Gunalda service station set to open by December

NEW STATION: The Gunalda Service Centre, owned by United Petroleum, will include a 350-seat eating area and a truckers lounge.

The massive servo is the biggest United development in Queensland.

Highway upgrade drives momentum in affordable market

Accessibility and affordability are keeping interest high