A disabled Bradford woman behind a bomb hoax campaign in which she targetted hospitals, charities and busy shops has been jailed for three and a half years.
Jacqueline Hustler used sinister whispered phone threats to organisations across the country, which caused buildings to be evacuated and emergency services deployed last October.
In the threats to shops she claimed a bomb would go off in half an hour and in another call she claimed she would shoot herself in front of police, Bradford Crown Court was told yesterday.
Hustler, 46, of Moorgate Avenue, Bradford Moor, had admitted three charges of communicating false information with intent on October 29 last year at a previous court hearing.
After walking slowly into the dock wearing dark glasses and carrying a stick yesterday, she spoke in a barely audible whisper to admit a further nine similar offences on the same day.
Prosecutor Jo Shepherd told the court Hustler rang branches of Marks & Spencer in Bradford, Bridlington, Castle Donington, Kendal and Derby and told staff there was a bomb in a brown paper parcel in the main entrance that would explode in 30 minutes.
The police were called on each occasion and two branches were evacuated.
Other bomb hoax calls were made that day to Eccleshill Community Hospital, Bradford Royal Infirmary and Westmorland General Hospital in Kendal.
When she was arrested, Hustler denied making the calls, saying she had spent the day in church, While on bail, Hustler committed a string of further offences on December 7.
She pleaded guilty before magistrates on December 31 to communicating false information to induce a false belief that a bomb was present in the reception at Eccleshill Community Hospital, Bradford Royal Infirmary, the Morley Street Resource Centre, Bradford, the Samaritans and to telling her support worker there was a bomb at her workplace.
Hustler also admitted sending indecent or grossly offensive text messages to her mother between December 5 and 8.
She told a staff member at Morley Resource Centre “You are a dead body” during a bomb hoax call that led to the building being evacuated.
She threatened her mental health support worker: “I will bomb your office. You are dead.”
In December, 2012, Hustler, already on a two-year community order for similar offences, was given a further 12-month community order by Bradford and Keighley magistrates for making repeated hoax bomb threats to Asda Living in Forster Square, Bradford.
In February 2011, she admitted making more than 200 hoax phone calls to emergency services in West Yorkshire.
Jailing her, Judge John Potter said Hustler was responsible for “a campaign of making bomb hoax calls”.
“Members of the public going about their lawful business were evacuated from a number of locations, no doubt causing them, at the least, inconvenience and almost certainly significant alarm and distress,” he said.
“Jacqueline Hustler you are a menace to our community.”
In mitigation, Hustler’s barrister, Sophie Drake, said her client was physically disabled, partially sighted and hard of hearing. She was socially isolated, lonely and had few friends.
“She is very frightened and very vulnerable. She says she hates what she does,” Miss Drake said.
After the case, Detective Inspector Ryan Bragg, of Bradford CID, said: “Hustler made a number of hoax calls, which were understandably treated as serious threats and caused panic and distress to those who received them.
“We are pleased with the sentence passed down and hope it will act as a deterrent for anyone who would think of doing something like this.”