Prank caller spared jail after a year of tormenting his neighbours
Prank caller, 27, tormented his father’s innocent neighbours for a year by ordering late night takeaways and claiming one of them took a drugs overdose after wrongly accusing them of being racist
- Michael Wang, 27, has been spared jail for subjecting neighbours to cruel pranks
- He tormented Julie and Neil Tunstall from November 2017 to October 2018
- Wang used an untraceable number to order unwanted takeaways and taxis
- He even called an ambulance claiming Mr Tunstall had a drugs overdose
- Mrs Tunstall told the court: ‘It has been a truly horrendous experience’
- Wang, who claimed he had a ‘delusional disorder’, was ordered to pay £1,000
Michael Wang, 27 (pictured), has been spared jail after subjecting his father’s neighbours – Julie and Neil Tunstall – to a series of cruel pranks from November 2017 to October 2018 after police did not take action over his claims they mocked him for being Chinese
A man has been spared jail after subjecting his neighbours to a year long vindictive prank campaign after wrongly accusing them of being racist.
From November 2017 and October 2018 Michael Wang, 27, subjected his father’s neighbours Julie and Neil Tunstall to a series of cruel pranks after police refused to take action over his claims they mocked for being Chinese.
Wang is used a number of untraceable mobile numbers he acquired via an app to fake orders for late night takeaway meals and taxis to be sent to the Tunstalls’ home in Bury, Greater Manchester.
He also pretended to be Mr Tunstall in prank phone calls and made a hoax call to a local hospital which was forced to send out an ambulance crew when it was falsely claimed the victim had collapsed at home with a drug overdose.
A funeral company even sent details the couple’s house in the mistaken belief Mr Tunstall had died.
The couple – who had no idea about the wrongful accusation of racism – had to install CCTV at their home due to fears for the safety from their mystery tormentor and even held family get-together to discuss who might have a grudge against them.
Police eventually traced Wang after linking him to an email address used to register with the app which was used to get the mobile numbers.
It emerged his parents were living in the house directly opposite the Tunstalls in Bury.
Officers searched the address and found a wi-fi camera hidden in a bedroom which was secretly filming the victim’s address whilst Wang watched on a PC from his own home in Loughbrough, Leicestershire.
At Manchester magistrates court Mr and Mrs Tunstall – both in their 50s and have been married for 28 years and have a 16-year old son – wept as Wang was ordered to pay them £1,000 compensation after he admitted harassment.
He claimed he had a ‘delusional disorder’ which led to the fake racism claims.
Wang used a number of untraceable mobile numbers he acquired via an app to fake orders of late night take away and unwanted taxis. He also made a hoax phone call to a local hospital as Mr Tunstall and falsely claimed the victim had collapsed at home with a drug overdose
Wang, who claimed he had a ‘delusional disorder’ which led to the fake racism claims, was ordered to pay them £1,000 compensation after he admitted harassment at Manchester magistrates court (pictured)
In a statement read to the hearing Mrs Tunstall said: ‘We have lived at this address for 21 years and we have a close family and close group of friends and this has been a chain of events that I could not have imagined in my worst nightmare.
‘It has been a truly horrendous experience – people calling and hanging up and knocks at the door at all hours of the day and night.
‘As this went on, more and more any movement in the street would result in us panicking wondering if this would be whoever was tormenting us. The longer it went on the more paranoid we became and we felt insecure and unsafe in our own home.
‘We blocked our home number and address from all takeaways and taxi firms in Bury which noticeably impacted our lives.
‘But the person sending things was intent on carrying on and soon we would start receiving things from the outside Bury area. We had the same number for years but changed it to avoid this but that didn’t work either.
In a statement read to the hearing Mrs Tunstall said: ‘It has been a truly horrendous experience – people calling and hanging up and knocks at the door at all hours of the day and night’ (Pictured: Wang leaving Manchester Magistrates Court)
‘An ambulance appeared outside which made me sick and we couldn’t believe having to explain to the emergency workers that it was a hoax.
‘We couldn’t lose the sickening feeling that that ambulance could’ve been needed for someone else. That night I cried so much that this was happening to us and we didn’t know when it would end and what would be next.
She added: ‘We felt unsafe in our home and we had CCTV fitted to try to make us feel safer. We came together as a family and discussed everyone who we knew and whether any of them could have a grudge against us. We were asking ourselves why someone would want to do this to us.
‘We have been asked very intrusive questions about this during the police investigation and this is something no family should have to go though. This has caused us all severe anxiety and our lives feel very different on a daily basis.
Mrs Tunstall added that she has started counselling sessions and has broken down at her home and work.
‘The actions of this individual could have broken a family up and he has demonstrated an intense effort to cover his tracks. I believe this demonstrates he knows the difference between right and wrong. He knew what he was doing was wrong.’
‘The last 12 months have been a nightmare. Our car has been vandalised since bringing the case forward and we now have CCTV installed and although you cannot see the face of the perpetrator the person comes from the direction of Mike’s fathers house and goes back in that direction.
‘He has been attending his father’s house more and more since we brought the charges. This experience has had such a detrimental effect I could not possibly have read this statement in court.’
She continued: ‘The actions of this individual could have broken a family up and he has demonstrated an intense effort to cover his tracks. I believe this demonstrates he knows the difference between right and wrong. He knew what he was doing was wrong’
The court heard the campaign began after Wang claimed in March 2017 the Tunstalls were being ‘racist’ about him being Chinese.
Miss Shazia Aslam prosecuting said: ‘Nothing came of that report when it was handled by police – in fact the complainants were never even spoken to by police.
‘But in November 2017 the defendant used an online company to purchase several mobile numbers which he used to make contact with various takeaways, taxi companies and other businesses at various times of the day and night.
‘This would usually be sometime after midnight and a taxi would arrive or a takeaway. There would be phone calls in the early hours where he would hang up as someone answered.
‘The defendant would contact a number of businesses saying he was the Tunstalls. Companies would then reply to Mr and Mrs Tunstall by phone or email or letter.
‘In one instance he got in touch with a business belonging to someone else who lived on the same street as the Tunstalls. The defendant wrote “hello my name is Neil Tunstall, I want to kill you you are a disgusting p..k”.
The neighbour came along to the Tunstalls’ home to ask if there was a problem and they explained the situation to them. At 4am takeaways would arrive at the complainant’s address.
‘The defendant even called Fairfield hospital claiming to be Neil Tunstall and said he’d taken a drug overdose.
The line then went dead and after the emergency services were unable to reach anyone on the number which called they had no option but to send an ambulance to the complainants address.
‘There were several prank phone calls at between 5 and 6 o’clock in the morning – prank calls where the complainant would answer and the line would go dead.
‘There was correspondence from Co-Op funeral services after an online enquiry was made for Neil Tunstall. Eventually an email of Mike Wang was discovered being used for registration with the app used to get the false numbers used and that is how the defendant was discovered.
‘His parents’ address was searched by police and they found a number of computers, mobile phones and a camera positioned in a bedroom opposite the complainants house pointed directly at the complainants address. The camera was set up to be watched remotely on a computer in the defendant’s house in Loughborough.
‘Laptops were discovered during a search of the defendant’s house in Loughborough and the defendant was arrested and charged. He gave a no comment interview to police.’
Miss Aslam added: ‘This has been coordinated, prolonged and concerted harassment. The defendant assumed the identities of Julie and Neil by a variety of different methods and things were ordered and prank calls made in the early hours. This has all been very distressing for the Tunstalls.’
In mitigation defence lawyer David Pearson said: ‘From the outset the defendant has expressed regret and remorse at the suffering he has caused. He is embarrassed at his actions.
Defence lawyer David Pearson said: ‘From the outset the defendant has expressed regret and remorse at the suffering he has caused. He is embarrassed at his actions’
‘He has been diagnosed with a delusion disorder and people with this disorder have delusions about real life events. They can believe people are conspiring against them and this is in keeping with the racism the defendant thought he had experienced at the hands of the complainants.
‘He mistakenly thought he had been targeted and his mental health deteriorated. He now and has since the events been engaging with treatments on offer. He has regular meetings with his psychiatrist and nurse and he hopes that he can rehabilitate himself in the community.
‘He is a low risk of reoffending and is ashamed by his behaviour He is an isolated and lonely man who has never committed an offence before.’
Wang was sentenced to 14 weeks jail suspended for a year and was ordered to pay £200 in costs and was mad subject of a 12 month community order.
Magistrate Mr Ibrar Ul-Haq told him: ‘This went on for quite some time and there is a high degree of planning persistent over a prolonged period.
‘Your actions have had a significant psychological effect. This offence crosses the custodial threshold and be under no illusion if you do not comply with this community order you will be back here. One single mistake and you will be going away for a long time.’
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