Man spared jail for harassment campaign

A disgruntled hospital patient, who waged a decade-long campaign of harassment against two respected doctors, which included death threats, has been spared jail.

Instead disabled Paul O’Callaghan, 37, of Granville Road, who circulated leaflets calling for the “punishment”, “retribution” and “execution” of named medics, who he also secretly recorded and filmed during consultations was given a suspended jail sentence on Tuesday.

“These are serious offences that were perpetrated over a lengthy period against two doctors who had the misfortune to have met you and tried to assist your progress and treatment,” district judge Nigel Dean told O’Callaghan as he sentenced him at Bromley Magistrates’ Court.

“The only factor that enables me not to send you to prison today is that you have an underlying health condition and for that reason I am prepared to suspend the sentence. You were making threats that they should be executed by death squads. You knew you would cause distress and targeted a number of doctors, including these two doctors, and it did cause distress.

“You hold an obsession with the NHS, which is unreasonable and have circulated wholly distressing leaflets over a considerable period. This was a planned orchestrated episode by you.”

O’Callahan, who receives disability living allowance for his chronic vestibular disorder, received 18 weeks imprisonment, suspended for 12 months. He was also placed on an electronically tagged night time curfew between 8pm and 6am for 10 weeks.

And he was made subject of a five-year restraining order, which prohibits him from displaying any sign that could cause harassment or distress to NHS staff. He must also pay £300 in legal costs at the rate of £10 per fortnight.

O’Callaghan was sentenced this week after being convicted at Greenwich Magistrates’ Court last month of two counts of harassment against Dr Jennifer Quirke and Dr David Golding-Wood between August 19, 2003 and November 20, last year.

The self-styled founder of the ‘British Unicorn Party’ was also convicted of two counts of communicating threatening messages between October 1, 2004 and November 20, last year and November 16 and 20, last year. His defence to the charges was that the leaflets were merely British Unicorn Party political manifestos, even though some were titled: Doctors of Evil, Fifteen Year Wait For Treatment and We Make Complete Cock-Ups On A Regular Basis.