Bomb hoaxer, 68 was men­tally ill

Runcorn & Widnes Weekly News - - Front Page - BY JOHN MCDOUGALL john.mcdougall@trin­i­tymir­ @JMacD1988

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

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