[Source: Northampton Chronicle & Echo Published: Thursday, 28 March, 2002]
Judge tells woman to live with Jesus Fellowship.
A serial bomb hoaxer has been spared a jail sentence and ordered to live in Northampton with the Jesus Fellowship.
Elders from the religious group, which is based in Nether Heyford, now hope to break Claire McMenemy’s nuisance call habit, which dates back more than a decade.
The 32-year-old phone pest will now live in Northampton after a judge ordered her to be taken in by the religious organisation as part of a rehabilitation order for her latest crimes.
Scotswoman McMenemy targeted authority figures, especially the police, as she staged a campaign of nuisance calls the length of the nation. But yesterday at Southwark Crown Court, Judge Geoffrey Rivlin refrained from sending McMenemy to prison.
The judge, who admitted he was taking an “exceptional course” of action, said: “You have a long history of making hoax calls to persons in authority, including the police.
“Everyone is agreed that in this case, no useful purpose will be served from anyone’s point of view — apart from protecting the police from your offending — if I were to send you to prison for a long time.”
McMenemy, who was born in Peterhead, Scotland, but of no fixed address, pleaded guilty to making two hoax calls on November 12 last year.
The first was made from a telephone in Storeys Gate, near Parliament Square, in which McMenemy claimed there was a bomb at historic Horseguards’ Parade.
The second hoax call was made from Buckingham Gate, yards from Buckingham Palace.
But the court heard that McMenemy had responded well to psychiatric treatment while she was awaiting her sentencing. Judge Rivlin said: “There are people anxious to help you, and in particular there are people connected with the Jesus Fellowship Church in Northampton who want to help.
“I understand that you want to be associated with them and be helped by them.”
McMenemy’s convictions for hoax calls date back to 1990 when she was first sentenced at Liverpool magistrates’ court. Her other convictions were from courts in London, Blackpool, Manchester, Leeds, Nottingham, Newcastle-upon-Tyne, Perth and Edinburgh.