Bomb hoaxer, 68 was mentally ill
AMAN who made bomb hoax phone calls to police in Runcorn in which he claimed to be part of the Real Irish Republican Army (IRA) has been ruled unfit to stand trial.
Philip Kilkelly was charged with two counts of communicating false information to Cheshire police last May.
He did not appear at a brief hearing on Monday, January 9, at Warrington Crown Court and Recorder Michael Murray, presiding, told a jury of five men and seven women that he was ‘mentally ill’ and was not fit to stand trial.
The judge invited jurors to either acquit Kilkelly or find that he ‘did the act charged’ rather than find him guilty.
They found that Kilkelly, 68, of Morval Crescent in Halton Brook, ‘did the act’ on both counts and the judge made a hospital order against the defendant.
Discussing with the defence the type of order that he should make, the judge said that the defendant has ‘not shown any signs of being dangerous’.
Kate Meredith-Jones, prosecuting, told the court that phone calls were made on consecutive days last May with the defendant claiming there were ‘explosive’ devices at Runcorn Shopping Centre. Two phone calls were played out in court and first one was made on May 18, the prosecution said.
The caller said: “This is the Real IRA. We have planted a device in your shopping complex.”
The second phone call played in court was from the following day and said that ‘yesterday was a practice’ and added there was now a ‘bomb in the shopping city’.
Miss Meredith-Jones said: “They might be vaguely amusing if they weren’t quite so serious.” ●
CCTV footage was also played in court showing High Street in Runcorn for both days showing the phone box where the calls were made from and a man leaving it, which the prosecution claimed was Kilkelly.
The court also heard that Kilkelly was arrested on May 20 at his home on Morval Crescent after police had received reports of a man ‘shouting and swearing’ in the street, Miss MeredithJones said.
Two police officers were cross examined by counsel including PC Adam Kenwright, who attended the defendant’s home.
PC Kenwright told the prosecution that Kilkelly was wearing the ‘exact same clothes’ as those seen on CCTV stills for the second call on May 19.
When asked by Rachel White, defending, what identifying features made him sure it was Kilkelly in the images, PC Kenwright replied it was his demeanour, the way he walked and the same clothing.
Summarising the case to the jury, the judge said: “If you find that if was Mr Kilkelly that made the calls, you must be sure that he knew the calls were false calls.
“He is too ill to be here. Please don’t take his absence as any support of the prosecution case.
“This is an identification case.”
After the jury returned their verdict, the court heard from Miss White that her client had been in the navy for 30 years but has ‘struggled with his mental health’.
Although no detailed extracts from a psychiatric report was read out in court, the prosecution referred to a section 10 formal submission which stated the defendant was ‘not fit to plead, nor well enough to attend court for trial’.
Runcorn Shopping Centre