Covid hoaxer who took photos inside 4 hospitals to falsely claim they are 'empty' fined just £200 by cops
POLICE have issued an anti-lockdown hoaxer who posted pictures of "empty" hospitals on Facebook with a £200 fine.
Hannah Dean, 30, from Portsmouth filmed and shared footage from hospitals "not on the frontline in the fight against Covid-19," which "caused angst in the community," Hampshire Police said.
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The mum-of-two's Facebook page features pictures and videos from Portsmouth's Queen Alexandra hospital, Southampton General hospital, the Princess Royal University hospital near Bromley, Kent, and St Richard’s hospital in Chichester.
Alongside the post she wrote: "Hospital is the quietest I have ever seen it! I walked all over the hospital, including A&E!
"I know this is hard to get our heads around, but the government are lying to us! And the reason why they’re lying to us….. is very disturbing!"
The News reported last week that Ms Dean's misleading posts were being investigated, with Hampshire Constabulary confirming on Facebook a 30-year-old woman had been fined, although the post now appears to have been removed.
The force initially said there had been no breach of lockdown rules, but later said it had received new information about the incident.
The post read: "Some of you will have seen the reports of persons attending local hospitals, taking photos of parts of the hospital that are not on the frontline in the fight against Covid-19, and using the images to suggest are hospitals are not being stretched.
Our colleagues across the NHS are working flat out to fight this virus
"These actions have caused angst in the community, and have prompted a number of calls to us reporting the posts.
"We have identified the source of the posts and have today issued a fixed penalty notice to the person responsible under the Health Protection (Coronavirus, Restrictions) Regulations 2020.
"Our colleagues across the NHS are working flat out to fight this virus, and we are all grateful for their continued efforts.
"There has been lots of publicity this weekend about us all doing our bit to stick to the rules and guidelines to support our NHS – we urge each and everyone of you to do the same."
But Ms Dean – a self-described "registered journalist" – took to Facebook to deny the claims.
She wrote: "Hampshire Constabulary Have confirmed to me in writing, that they have no grounds to detain me and I am not obliged to talk with them.
I have not been probed by them… I am not under investigation! There is not a warrant for my arrest! And I have not been fined!!!!
"I am a living woman, not a constitution. I am a registered journalist and I will continue to operate as such."
Despite the sanctions, the mum-of-two is still operating her Facebook page, which also features anti-vaxx posts, a video from Katie Hopkins and a meme appearing to mock Kate and Gerry McCann.
She also shared that she had not "said Covid-19 is not real, all I have said is that not all hospitals are overrun and under pressure."
The former fitness instructor, who appears to have added the National Union of Journalists page to her own Facebook back in March, also said she had received death threats following allegedly false claims she had been abusive to staff.
She added she wore a mask when she entered the buildings, and that she would go back if asked to do so as part of her "journalism work".
Furious residents took to social media today to share their frustrations that the hoaxer was still operating.
Mandy Collingwood wrote: "Glad she has been given a fine but this person is still posting on her Facebook page today !!
"She should have her profile removed. !!! Or maybe she should walk round the wards with out a mask she would see more clearly then !!!!! She makes me so angry and people believe her."
Most called for harsher punishments, with one person writing: "I am glad she has been fined but a more appropriate punishment is needed.
"A week or more as a volunteer in a setting where she sees the true situation."
Theresa Deem said: "Should have been fined for each hospital she visited as there were about 4 or 5! And made to work on a Covid ward."
Mark Cubbon, chief executive at Portsmouth Hospitals University NHS Trust, slammed Ms Dean's actions as disrespectful to hardworking frontline health staff.
And Western Sussex hospital said the images were "misleading," "inaccurate" and "highly disrespectful".
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