Police charge man over Abbie hoax calls

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The Independent Online
A MAN accused of making hoax telephone calls in connection with the abduction of newborn Abbie Humphries from a Nottingham hospital was charged last night with causing grievous bodily harm to the baby's mother and father.

Adrian Brooks, a father of three, from Matson, Gloucester, will appear before magistrates at Nottingham today, charged with making hoax calls between 6 and 11 July.

The decision to charge him with grievous bodily harm follows a case last week in which an obscene telephone caller was jailed after the prosecution successfully argued that the recipient of his calls had suffered mental anguish equivalent to physical injury.

Mr Brooks's arrest followed the arrest of a woman at her home in Underwood, near Nottingham, in connection with five calls to the police incident room and two to a tabloid newspaper.

Nottinghamshire police refused to name the woman detained, one detective said: 'We don't want her pilloried for being ill.' A spokesman added: 'She is still being held but is being counselled rather than questioned.'

Police revealed yesterday that their hunt for Abbie, who was kidnapped from the Queen's Medical Centre by a woman disguised as a nurse, had been hampered by a number of misleading calls. Detective Superintendent Harry Shepherd, heading the investigation, said that more than two days of police time had been wasted and the processing of information from up to 3,000 members of the public had been severely disrupted.

He said he was disappointed by the lost hours but could not allow himself to become frustrated.

Eleven days after Abbie's father Roger, 33, was persuaded to hand over his four-hour-old daughter for a 'routine hearing check', he and his wife Karen, 32, are still distraught, waiting for news of their daughter at a secret address.

Mrs Humphries, a former midwife who once worked at the Queen's Medical Centre, has made a tearful television plea to the kidnapper to bring Abbie home. Her other child, Charlie, three, was asking for his new baby, she said.

An apparently promising lead - a telephone call from a man calling himself Gary who claimed his wife had abducted Abbie - is now believed to have been a hoax. The call was made to John Stalker, the former deputy chief constable of Greater Manchester, who now presents Central Television's Crime Stalker programme.

The call led to Central Television interrupting its schedule to broadcast a special police appeal to Gary at a time when he said his wife would be watching. Police asked him to take the next step and contact them.

There has been no contact with Abbie or her abductor since witnesses saw a woman, apparently disguised in a black wig and sunglasses, crossing the A52 Derby road a few minutes after the abduction. The woman disappeared into a nearby residential estate.

A discarded nurse's uniform was later discovered in a hospital lavatory. Police have released three photofits based on information from Abbie's father, a member of staff at the hospital and two members of the public.

Two video photographs showing the woman from behind, taken by a hospital security camera have also been released.