Mandurah woman sentenced over false prostitution ring claims and hoax triple zero calls

Police prosecutor Sean Discombe said the hoax calls prompted a 15-day "sexual servitude investigation" with several organisations working together including Australian Border Force and the Department of Home Affairs. Photo: File image.
Police prosecutor Sean Discombe said the hoax calls prompted a 15-day "sexual servitude investigation" with several organisations working together including Australian Border Force and the Department of Home Affairs. Photo: File image.

A Mandurah woman who claimed to be held against her will in a prostitution ring, sparking a 15-day state and federal police operation costing thousands of dollars, has been sentenced to a community order.

Ravenswood resident Elaine Anne Gilhespy, 55, pleaded guilty to creating false belief when she appeared in the Mandurah Magistrates Court on Tuesday. 

Police prosecutor Sean Discombe told the court Gilhespy used a phone with no sim card to make seven hoax calls to triple zero between 6.28pm on January 20 and 11.06pm on January 21, 2019. 

It cost tens and thousands of dollars.

Police prosecutor Sean Discombe

Gilhespy said she was in an unknown location with 12 other woman, including one 14-year-old, who were all being forced to work as prostitutes.

He said Gilhespy spoke in Cantonese when making the calls.

Sergeant Discombe said this prompted a 15-day "sexual servitude investigation" with several organisations working together including Australian Border Force and the Department of Home Affairs.

"It cost tens and thousands of dollars," he said. 

I am terribly sorry for all the trouble I have caused.

Elaine Anne Gilhespy

When she was arrested in Ravesnwood, Gilhespy told police she had been adversely affected by prescription medication, Sergeant Discombe said. 

Gilhespy told the court the incident was a "subconscious attempt" to harm herself.

"I would like to profusely apologise to police officers," she said.

"I am terribly sorry for all the trouble I have caused."

Magistrate Anne Longden told the court it was a "very unusual" incident and Gilhespy held no prior record. 

"You suffer from ill health and were in a state of psychological distress," she said.

Gilhespy was sentenced to a 12-month community order with program requirements.