Hoaxes & Pranks

G

garrick92

Guest
#1
Absolutely Hideous and Disturbing "Prank-Gone-Wrong&quo

THREE CLEARED OVER 'JOKE' EMAIL TO KNIFE HORROR FATHER

"Three workers have been cleared of forgery after sending joke emails about a fake business trip to a rival. The man later had a mental breakdown and stabbed his 12-year-old daughter to death. Andy Hall, from Monmouthshire, plunged a 14-inch carving knife into his daughter Emma's heart the day he returned from the made-up business trip to India in June 2000. Jeremy Aston, Raymond Ball and Ivan Lucas, from a rival firm, admitted sending emails to Mr Hall about meeting a non-existent client in India, but insisted it was a practical joke. Hall took the emails seriously and travelled to India to attend the meeting, only to find it was not real. At Cardiff Crown Court, the jury, which was not told of the death of Hall's daughter, found the trio not guilty after about two hours of deliberation. Mr Aston, 44, of Rhiwbina, Cardiff; Mr Ball, 40, of Thornhill, Cardiff, and Mr Lucas, 31, of Monmouth; had denied one count of forgery between May 17, 2000, and July 20, 2000. Hall, previously of Mountview, Whitelye, Catbrook in Monmouthshire was found not guilty of murder by reason of insanity at his trial in December 2000 and remains in hospital. Following his trial in December 2000, his family issued a statement blaming the emails as the "catalyst for this tragedy", but Judge Christopher Llewellyn Jones QC said the incidents were not linked. The three men sent the emails to their former employer, for which Andy Hall worked, the medical testing equipment company Molecular Light Technology, based in Cardiff, as part of an office joke. They pretended to be a non-existent Indian businessman called Dr Sunil Hankawanka who was interesting in the supply of benzene testing kits. Messages, to which Hall began to reply, were sent by the trio in bad, broken English, once requesting a translation from Mr Hall into Urdu. After leaving MLT, Ball and Aston had set up their own company, AB Biomonitoring, and computer worker Lucas joined them at a later date. Ball told the court that he was concerned for the security of his emails being sent to an old MLT mail box and sent the messages to the company as a test of its integrity. More than 30 emails were eventually sent between Andy Hall and "Dr Hankawanka" and Hall eventually arranged to travel to India, but discovered the doctor did not exist after arriving in the country. Returning to the UK, paranoid schizophrenic Hall, who thought he was Jesus Christ, killed his daughter less than 12 hours after arriving home. The teenager was asleep in her bed when Hall attacked her in the belief she would come back to life after her death. He had planned to kill his entire family including his wife Karen and his son James, then 10, and commit suicide believing this would save 15 other Christian families from death. But Hall's wife and his son fled the house in a fit of panic believing her husband was trying to also kill James.

:eek: [Speechless]
 

rynner2

Great Old One
Joined
Aug 7, 2001
Messages
55,252
Likes
8,932
Points
284
Location
Under the moon
#3
beakboo said:
They won't do that again then.
If you mean the hoaxers, they got off, so no deterrent there.

As in the 'murder' trial in London which today acquited a gang of shits of murder. Perhaps this was not a murder, or if it was they did not commit it, but they are still a gang of shits.

They had previously been freed of a charge of indecent assault on a young girl. All the stories can come out now the trial is over.

The sort of thing that leaves a very bad taste in the mouth.
 
G

garrick92

Guest
#4
rynner said:
The sort of thing that leaves a very bad taste in the mouth.
Hear, hear. This is a revolting incident.

I suspect (and I f*cking well hope)that the defendants didn't know their victim had a history of mental illness and so the judge 'winked' at them since they were mortified at the result -- they were 'guilty' morally, but not legally ... if you see what I mean.

If they did know ... which the judge's ruling makes me doubt, please God let me be right for my faith ... then they ought to be drowned.

Yes. Hideous, hideous story. I don't even want to think about thinking about thinking about what must have gone on in that poor bloke's head.

Although I hope the acquitted are clear about their own consciences, I hope that this serves as a warning to others. Hoaxes are funny ... if they don't damage anyone.

(Not going to comment on the Taylor verdict for legal reasons)
 

brianellwood

Abominable Snowman
Joined
Nov 10, 2001
Messages
722
Likes
11
Points
49
#5
This tragedy sounds like it had to happen, all it needed was a final trigger. In a normal state of mind would you answer mail from a "Dr.Hankawanka" (except on this board perhaps?:rolleyes: ) Sad as often in these cases, the warnings signs are there but not picked up or acted upon in time.
 
G

garrick92

Guest
#6
brian ellwood said:
would you answer mail from a "Dr.Hankawanka" (except on this board perhaps?:rolleyes: ) Sad as often in these cases, the warnings signs are there but not picked up or acted upon in time.
Well, apart from the question of 'did they know he was ill?', it does make you wonder .... but that's one for the 'weird names' thread.

I can't believe that they didn't know he was ill.
 
G

garrick92

Guest
#8
No offence, mate, but with this magnitude of joke, I can't believe it makes much difference ...
 
G

garrick92

Guest
#10
Riiiight ...

I was assuming that your 'some people hide it very well' remark referred to the victim's schizophrenia. I didn't take massive offence at it -- just didn't think it was an appropriate response.

If it didn't (refer to the victim's state), then my apologies -- I misunderstood you.

But, as I say, I didn't mean any offence to you personally for rebuffing it either way.
 
A

Anonymous

Guest
#11
Sorry. I wasn't being flippant. I think I may just thought that he'd managed to hide it from his workmates. Not likely, but possible? I don't know, I've never known anyone who suffered from schizophrenia, so I could be talking out of the wrong end.
I'm not being very perceptive right now; I've been writing an essay on Jacobitism for eight hours and I'm on the verge of passing out on my keyboard.
 

stu neville

Commissioner.
Staff member
Joined
Mar 9, 2002
Messages
11,372
Likes
4,013
Points
234
#12
That's the problem with schizophrenia - it can go undiagnosed for years. My mate's dad succumbed to it, and it was only spotted a few years later when he went utterly loopy one evening - up until then the family had all assumed he was just getting a little eccentric with advancing age, when later it transpired (after months of psychiatric counselling) that he'd been becoming gradually more and more convinced that his family were "out to get him"; cos he thought he'd be banged up by his family if this manifested itself he kept it to himself until one day the pressure just got too great. Thankfully no-one was hurt when he did go, but that was more luck than anything else.

Now he's doped up to the toupee 24/7, but he's not dangerous to himself or others, and back at home.
 

beakboo1

Justified & Ancient
Joined
Sep 20, 2001
Messages
2,312
Likes
28
Points
69
#13
garrick92 said:
Riiiight ...

I was assuming that your 'some people hide it very well' remark referred to the victim's schizophrenia. I didn't take massive offence at it -- just didn't think it was an appropriate response.

If it didn't (refer to the victim's state), then my apologies -- I misunderstood you.
Why shouldn't it refer to the victim's state? Some people do hide psychiatric illness very well. Why is IJ apologising? Did I miss a meeting?
When I said "they won't do that again" I'm assuming they had no idea he was ill and are completely destroyed by the consequences of their actions. As I would be if I was the type who played practical jokes (which I'm not).
 
G

garrick92

Guest
#14
beakboo said:
Why shouldn't it refer to the victim's state? Some people do hide psychiatric illness very well. Why is IJ apologising? Did I miss a meeting?
I don't think you missed a meeting, so much as turned over two pages at once -- and I think I may have done, too! Yes, some people do hide psychiatric illnesses very well -- my point about it not being 'an appropriate response' was that it would be a horrifically malicious and destructive thing to do to anyone, sane or not!

I wasn't demanding an apology from anyone, at all: I don't think I would have that right -- and in fact I was apologising in advance for any misunderstanding. Frankly, I am now rather confused ...

When I said "they won't do that again" I'm assuming they had no idea he was ill and are completely destroyed by the consequences of their actions. As I would be if I was the type who played practical jokes (which I'm not).
Yup. But they got away with it, when it was a clearly premeditated case of fraud. Perhaps that's the family's fault for pursuing the wrong charges, I'm a bit hazy on the details of this case. But the judge ought to have mentioned it in his summing up, at the very least.
 

beakboo1

Justified & Ancient
Joined
Sep 20, 2001
Messages
2,312
Likes
28
Points
69
#15
Yes they "got away with it" in the strict legal sense, but there are other punishments. If I did anything that had consequences like that, I think I might welcome being imprisoned because it would ease my hidious guilt. Being questioned, charged and brought to court in a case like this must be a horrific nightmare in itself.
 
A

Anonymous

Guest
#16
[Puts on flame retardent suit] To be honest with you, it seems from this article as though the only real connection between this practical joke and the man's actions are the accusations of the family. It clearly states that his delusions were the cause for the murder, not the joke itself. It appears to me at least that the family in their grief wanted to place the blame on an outside source, perhaps to free themselves of any sense of culpability in the matter. Clearly these three men could not have known the outcome of their actions, and attempting to blame them for what is obviously a tragic act carried out independtly by a very sick man is sick in its own right. I'm sure that even though they carry no true responsibility in this case will not free them from the feelings of guilt and anguish that will surely haunt them for the rest of their lives. [/Puts on flame retardent suit]
 
G

garrick92

Guest
#17
Lupus Yonderboy said:
[Puts on flame retardent suit] To be honest with you, it seems from this article as though the only real connection between this practical joke and the man's actions are the accusations of the family. It clearly states that his delusions were the cause for the murder, not the joke itself. It appears to me at least that the family in their grief wanted to place the blame on an outside source, perhaps to free themselves of any sense of culpability in the matter. Clearly these three men could not have known the outcome of their actions, and attempting to blame them for what is obviously a tragic act carried out independtly by a very sick man is sick in its own right. I'm sure that even though they carry no true responsibility in this case will not free them from the feelings of guilt and anguish that will surely haunt them for the rest of their lives. [/Puts on flame retardent suit]
I really don't agree. You're making an unwise assumption that this man was potentially a murderer all along, purely because of his illness. That, if you'll forgive me for 'flaming' a little, is a pretty ignorant line of argument.

Try looking at it another way: he was a married man with two children and obviously successful in business. Not your usual 'nutter on the bus'. I'd say he was a responsible person living with an illness quite well -- probably only through medication, but obviously coping OK.

He gets tricked into making a business journey to India -- not a cheap venture, and presumably crushingly disappointing. I think that would put a clear strain on anyone's mental state -- especially since the hoaxers evidently didn't confess immediately to him.

In fact, by being manipulated by people of whom he is unaware into travelling halfway round the world on a wild-goose chase, the poor guy was being invited to go off the deep end: deliberately doing anything that blurs the boundaries of a schizophrene's grasp on reality is a form of assault, pure and simple.
 
A

Anonymous

Guest
#18
garrick92 said:
I really don't agree. You're making an unwise assumption that this man was potentially a murderer all along, purely because of his illness. That, if you'll forgive me for 'flaming' a little, is a pretty ignorant line of argument.[/B]
My "unwise assumption" comes from the following. "Returning to the UK, paranoid schizophrenic Hall, who thought he was Jesus Christ, killed his daughter less than 12 hours after arriving home. The teenager was asleep in her bed when Hall attacked her in the belief she would come back to life after her death. He had planned to kill his entire family including his wife Karen and his son James, then 10, and commit suicide believing this would save 15 other Christian families from death."

Try looking at it another way: he was a married man with two children and obviously successful in business. Not your usual 'nutter on the bus'. I'd say he was a responsible person living with an illness quite well -- probably only through medication, but obviously coping OK.
His marital status, business success, and number of children do not discount his potential for violence or murder. The fact that his delusions had advanced to the state that he believed himself to be Jesus Christ clearly show he was not "obviously coping OK".

He gets tricked into making a business journey to India -- not a cheap venture, and presumably crushingly disappointing. I think that would put a clear strain on anyone's mental state -- especially since the hoaxers evidently didn't confess immediately to him.
I agree with this statement to a point. However, his delusions are not dependent upon this stress, and therefore are a danger irregardless of other factors.

In fact, by being manipulated by people of whom he is unaware into travelling halfway round the world on a wild-goose chase, the poor guy was being invited to go off the deep end: deliberately doing anything that blurs the boundaries of a schizophrene's grasp on reality is a form of assault, pure and simple.
By saying that the guy was "invited to go off the deep end" is to say that the three were accutely aware of this individuals condition and the possible consequences thereafter, something that cannot be deduced from the article.
 
G

garrick92

Guest
#19
Lupus Yonderboy said:
My "unwise assumption" comes from the following. "Returning to the UK, paranoid schizophrenic Hall, who thought he was Jesus Christ, killed his daughter less than 12 hours after arriving home. The teenager was asleep in her bed when Hall attacked her in the belief she would come back to life after her death. He had planned to kill his entire family including his wife Karen and his son James, then 10, and commit suicide believing this would save 15 other Christian families from death."
'Who thought he was Jesus Christ at the time he murdered his daughter.'

If he was that far-out of it all the time, he wouldn't have been compos mentis enough for the hoaxers to 'get at' -- how many businessmen do you know who believe that they are Christ, anyway? It's clear that his delusion that he was Jesus wasn't his normal state -- and if it was (which is impossible), then the hoaxers were knowingly assaulting an insane man (which you are arguing they weren't).

His marital status, business success, and number of children do not discount his potential for violence or murder.
That's true of anyone, though, so it's irrelevant. What I am saying is that the fact that he was able to sustain this lifestyle proves he had his condition under control.

The fact that his delusions had advanced to the state that he believed himself to be Jesus Christ clearly show he was not "obviously coping OK".
No shiiiit? So, let's see, what catastrophe would have sent him into that schizophrenic crisis? Er ...

I agree with this statement to a point. However, his delusions are not dependent upon this stress, and therefore are a danger irregardless of other factors.
Unacceptable. Schizophrenic delusions are almost entirely dependent on external stress -- that's why people (schizophrenics and non-schizophrenics) are said to 'crack up' or 'have a breakdown' under great strain -- the two phrases are informalisms for descent into a schizophrenic state.

If his delusions had been out-of-control or dangerous before the hoax, it's very surprising that he was allowed to live with his family or indeed not 'sectioned' under the Mental Health Act.

Which kind of suggests that he wasn't considered a danger, and the fact that he was a succesful businessman tends to support that, doesn't it?

By saying that the guy was "invited to go off the deep end" is to say that the three were accutely aware of this individuals condition and the possible consequences thereafter, something that cannot be deduced from the article.
No, I am saying that whether or not they were aware (and I don't think they were -- something else that counts against your suggestion that the man was a permanent delusional -- andalso, see my first point in this post), this 'joke' would be a catastrophic thing to do to anyone.
 
A

Anonymous

Guest
#21
garrick92 said:
If he was that far-out of it all the time, he wouldn't have been compos mentis enough for the hoaxers to 'get at' -- how many businessmen do you know who believe that they are Christ, anyway? It's clear that his delusion that he was Jesus wasn't his normal state -- and if it was (which is impossible), then the hoaxers were knowingly assaulting an insane man (which you are arguing they weren't).[/B]
The text of the article does not go into detail as to the time line for his delusion development, therefore its impossible to state what his "normal state" was. We could banter back and forth about it all day, but we simply cannot know without further details.


No shiiiit? So, let's see, what catastrophe would have sent him into that schizophrenic crisis? Er ...

There's no need to be snippy. The fact of the matter is we will never know for sure what made him decide to do what he did. Only he and God will know that for sure.

Unacceptable. Schizophrenic delusions are almost entirely dependent on external stress -- that's why people (schizophrenics and non-schizophrenics) are said to 'crack up' or 'have a breakdown' under great strain -- the two phrases are informalisms for descent into a schizophrenic state.
As you say, "cracking up" and "have a breakdown" are popular, not to mention non-clinical, expressions, and do not acurately describe a patients mental state. I know 2 psychiatrists and 3 psychologists, and all none of them would ever be caught dead using those words.

If his delusions had been out-of-control or dangerous before the hoax, it's very surprising that he was allowed to live with his family or indeed not 'sectioned' under the Mental Health Act.
I'm not sure how this is surprising, as it unfortunately happens every day. Again, we cannot deduce from the article the extent of his delusions before this event. It was your train of thought there about living with the family despite his state that made me think his family might be having feelings of culpability in the matter. As they say, "Hindsight is a mother".

Which kind of suggests that he wasn't considered a danger, and the fact that he was a succesful businessman tends to support that, doesn't it?
Not neccesarily. If time has shown us anything, it is that madmen are capable of great acts. Many of our most famous, and infamous, characters in history suffered from various mental illnesses.


No, I am saying that whether or not they were aware (and I don't think they were -- something else that counts against your suggestion that the man was a permanent delusional -- andalso, see my first point in this post), this 'joke' would be a catastrophic thing to do to anyone.

I wasn't attempting to take away from the seriousness of the "joke" they played. If anything they should have been held up for fraud for tricking him into spending the time, money, and resources to fly to India. I was speaking solely in regards to their culpability in the unfortunate and tragic death of this little girl.
 
A

Anonymous

Guest
#22
Just so there is no confusion I made my last post before reading your link.

"The stress of the wasted trip caused Hall's illness to worsen, and he became convinced that he had to kill his own family and commit suicide to save 15 other families from death."

That's a very bold statement for them to make, especially in light of the fact that they do not refrence anyone's medical opinion on this. One could almost make an argument for liable and slander on behalf of the three in regards to that.
 
G

garrick92

Guest
#23
Lupus Yonderboy said:
The text of the article does not go into detail as to the time line for his delusion development, therefore its impossible to state what his "normal state" was. We could banter back and forth about it all day, but we simply cannot know without further details.
As seen, he had a history of mental problems and had first suffered a delusional episode in 1992.

There's no need to be snippy. The fact of the matter is we will never know for sure what made him decide to do what he did. Only he and God will know that for sure.
No offence meant -- I often forget the emoticons, and that should have had a ":rolleyes:" after it, because the point you were making was, well, pretty obvious! If offence was given then I offer unreserved apologies.

I'm not disputing that we'll never know what went on in his head -- I'm saying that whatever went on in his head was delusional and that the trigger for his delusions (obviously of a worse nature than at any previous time) was his wasted trip to India.

As you say, "cracking up" and "have a breakdown" are popular, not to mention non-clinical, expressions, and do not acurately describe a patients mental state. I know 2 psychiatrists and 3 psychologists, and all none of them would ever be caught dead using those words.
Quite right too. But my point was that schizophrenics do not live in their delusional state 24/7 -- that schizophrenia is episodic, and that even non-schizophrenes can have such episodes.

I'm not sure how this is surprising, as it unfortunately happens every day. Again, we cannot deduce from the article the extent of his delusions before this event. It was your train of thought there about living with the family despite his state that made me think his family might be having feelings of culpability in the matter. As they say, "Hindsight is a mother".
Yes, such incidents have happened before. I would hesitate at saying 'every day', however. 'A few times a year' would be closer to the truth. As it happens, he had spent time in psychiatric wards before, and had obviously been passed for discharge by tribunal. I really can't see how his family might be culpable for this tragedy in any way.

If time has shown us anything, it is that madmen are capable of great acts. Many of our most famous, and infamous, characters in history suffered from various mental illnesses.
True, but a faulty correlation, so irrelevant. Of those famous figures, how many stabbed their daughter to death while insane?


I wasn't attempting to take away from the seriousness of the "joke" they played. If anything they should have been held up for fraud for tricking him into spending the time, money, and resources to fly to India. I was speaking solely in regards to their culpability in the unfortunate and tragic death of this little girl.
Completely agree. They are not responsible for her death. Nor is Mr Hall, since he was insane at the time. But the hoaxers are responsible for assaulting a mentally-ill man during the course of a business 'dirty tricks' campaign, and driving him insane. And, as I said before, whether they knew he was ill or not (and we don't know either way), they oughtn't have done it, the scumbags.
 
A

Anonymous

Guest
#24
Well, in the interests of bandwidth I'll defer from making any more extended posts, especially as it appears we agree on some of the more major points.

The only thing remaining that I would point out is that while I cannot think of a case of a historical figure stabbing his daughter during a mental episode, I can think of a few who killed much greater numbers.

The fact of the matter is that what happened was a tragedy, and while we may never know or be able to prove for certain who was at fault, we should never loose sight of that. To paraphrase Buddhist philosophy "When a person dies a universe is destroyed." I am sure that we can all agree that in the death of this little girl a beautiful and great universe was indeed destroyed, and we all are lesser for that loss.

One thing I would like to say though in wrapping this up. I have enjoyed our short debate, and thank you for intelligent and well thought out view points on the matter. :)
 
G

garrick92

Guest
#25
Never with a bang, always with a whimper!

And likewise to you. Enjoyable. Catch you around, I hope.
 

ogopogo3

Justified & Ancient
Joined
Oct 25, 2001
Messages
1,374
Likes
17
Points
69
#27
Don't worry, I'm a doctor

http://www.ananova.com/news/story/sm_617056.html?menu=news.weirdworld.sexlife

Women pose naked at windows for 'mammogram by satellite'


Four Portuguese women stood topless at their windows because they thought they were getting a mammogram by satellite.

The women, who live in San Bartholomeu de Messines in the Algarve, were telephoned by a woman who claimed she was a doctor.

The Correio da Manhã website reports she said the procedure was new and would not cost them anything.

When they called her back for the results of the alleged test, the hoaxer described her sexual desires to them.

The women were aged between 19 and 45. They have complained to the police.

One of them told the website: "I complained because the woman who called made us do a very shameful thing, and I am quite angry."
 

Spookyangel

Justified & Ancient
Joined
May 2, 2002
Messages
1,023
Likes
12
Points
69
#29
I think that's a rather harsh view point. Ok, to us it may seem silly, but when a "doctor", who is a person in a position of trust, asks us to do something, I'd say most ppl would do it. This woman abused these women and that is unforgiveable.
 

Glensheen'sGirl~

Devoted Cultist
Joined
Feb 6, 2002
Messages
169
Likes
3
Points
49
#30
I'm not saying that the person who abused their trust shouldn't be punished. On the contrary, she most certainly should.
 
Top