Drunk woman claimed she is `Jack Sparrow’

Last Updated: Thursday, September 20, 2012 - 21:38

London: A drunken woman who claimed she was a pirate as she hijacked a passenger ferry on the River Dart in Devon while shouting "I`m Jack Sparrow" has been sentenced to 112 days in prison.

Alison Whelan, 51, stole the 100-seater ferry on the River Dart after she had been drinking Lambrini and eating deadly plant nightshade for two days, causing her to hallucinate.

She shouted "I`m Jack Sparrow" and "I`m a pirate" after she unmoored the Dart Princess Passenger Ferry, a 45ft vessel, with companion Tristam Locke from the Kingswear pontoon and set off up the river, the Daily Mail reported.

Jack Sparrow is the character played by actor Johnny Depp in the Pirates of the Caribbean films.

Whelan from Paignton, Devon was sentenced to 112 days in jail for the incident which saw the ferry bumping into other boats `like a pinball machine` in a police chase that lasted an hour.

More than 30 ambulance, police, coastguard and Royal National Lifeboat Institution officers were drafted in during the incident, Torquay Magistrates Court in Devon heard.

Before the duo unmoored the boat, Whelan, who is a chronic alcoholic awaiting a liver transplant, called paramedics in the early hours of September 10 last year after fearing she was having a seizure.

Paramedics said they found the defendant `rambling` and obviously drunk while Locke became abusive and pushed over one of the medics.

When police arrived, the medics said that Whelan and Locke were 200 yards away and heading towards dozens of other moored vessels.
Whelan later told police she untied two or three of the ropes connecting the boat to the shore because she kept tripping over them.

She said before she knew it she felt the boat moving and `noticed the hotels getting a long way away`.

Police joined lifeboat crew on the river trying to intercept the boat. The harbour master was also alerted but the suspects shouted abuse from the out-of-control boat and made jokes about being kidnapped, the court was told.

The ferry bumped into a 70,000 pounds fibreglass catamaran causing 300 pounds of damage to another moored vessel.

It finally came to rest in still water about a kilometre or so upstream from where it started.
Whelan was sentenced to 112 days after being found guilty of aggravated vehicle taking by magistrates at Torquay.

Locke, of Crediton in Devon was fined 100 pounds at a separate court case last year after admitting assaulting an ambulance technician by beating.

PTI

First Published: Thursday, September 20, 2012 - 21:38
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