“I”m Jack Sparrow” – well she does have the make-up right! Drunk woman claimed she was a pirate as she hijacked a passenger ferry and floated away from policeAlison Whelan spent two days drinking and eating plant nightshade, causing her to hallucinate before she unmoored the 45ft-long ferryTogether with companion Tristam Locke they floated down the River Dart, Devon as police tried to intercept themThey were heard laughing and shouting “I”m Jack Sparrow” and “I”m a pirate”When arrested Whelan said they would have ended up in St Tropez if they had not been caught
Whelan was found guilty of aggravated vehicle taking and sentenced to 112 days in jail
Alison Whelan stole a ferry after a two-day bender drinking and eating nightshade. As the boat floated away from police she shouted “I”m Jack Sparrow”
A drunk woman claimed she was a pirate as she hijacked a passenger ferry and floated away from police while shouting ‘I’m Jack Sparrow.’
Alison Whelan, 51, stole the 100-seater ferry on the River Dart in Devon 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 pair could be heard laughing and shouting from the deck ‘what are you going to do now’ and ‘I believe this is out of your jurisdiction’.
Whelan of 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 RNLI officers were drafted in during the incident, Torquay Magistrates Court in Devon heard.
Speaking after the hearing, PC Clare Pearson said: “This lady put the police, ambulance and coastguard to an awful lot of trouble.
“The amount of people called out to recover the boat and the damage caused to other vessels made it quite an expensive night.”
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.
Ambulance technician Peter Jordan said he and his colleague waited in their vehicle a few yards away from the ferry for police to arrive.
As they watched through the wing mirror the ferry started to move.
He said: ‘We saw it drifting down the estuary.
Unmoored boat: Whelan and companion Tristam Locke unmoored the Dart Princess Passenger Ferry, centre, which bumped into other moored boats before finally stopping about a mile upstream with the pair onboard
‘I heard a female voice saying they were pirates and asking “what are we going to do now”.’
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.
Jail sentence: Whelan was jailed for 112 days for the incident after her drinking spree in Torquay on the River Dart, pictured. When arrested she said they would have ended up in St Tropez if they had not been caught
The ferry bumped into a 70,000 fibreglass catamaran causing 300 of damage and another moored vessel.
It finally came to rest in still water about a mile or so upstream from here it started.
When arrested Whelan said they would have ended up in St Tropez if they had not been caught.
Whelanadmitted that she and Locke had been on a drinking spree around Torbay,Devon and that she had consumed poisonous nightshade, causing her to hallucinate.
Police heard Whelan shout “I”m Jack Sparrow”, referring to the character played by actor Johnny Depp in the Pirates of The Caribbean films (pictured) as the 45ft vessel floated away, causing a one hour chase
The ferry’s owner Kenneth Lane said he had moored the boat securely with seven ropes an hour or so before it was taken.
Ashley Lane, the ferry”s operations manager, said the would-be sailors were both “exceptionally lucky to be alive”.
He said: “If the tide had been going out instead of coming in, the boat could have been pulled onto rocks and the two of them could have been killed.”
The ferry suffered 1,500 worth of damage. The boat is usually used for wildlife cruises in the Torbay area but had been hired for a different job and was moored in nearby Kingswear that night.
Locke, of Crediton in Devon was fined 100 at a separate court case last year after admitting assaulting an ambulance technician by beating.
Whelan was sentenced to 112 days after being found guilty of aggravated vehicle taking by magistrates at Torquay.
She denied the charge but magistrates found her guilty and she was also in breach of a four-month suspended sentence.