Danielle Bates threatened self-harm to waste police time for TikTok ‘notoriety’

Matt Slocum/AP

A police prosecutor said Bates “wanted notoriety” from TikTok posts. (File photo)

A person who made more than 1600 false self-harm claims over six months was deliberately wasting police time for a TikTok trend, a court has heard.

Danielle Bates, 20, who identifies as gender diverse, was refused name suppression by Judge Arthur Tompkins when they appeared at Blenheim District Court on Monday.

Judge Tompkins said this was because Bates had personally sought publicity through social media posts showcasing their behaviour.

A police summary of facts said Bates contacted various suicide prevention helplines 1644 times via text and phone calls, between January and July 16, 2023. These resulted in 121 police call-outs.

On June 24, Bates sent texts to a crisis hotline saying they wanted to die, and “I’m going out of reception so no-one can find me”.

Later that day Bates visited the Blenheim Police Station where staff advised them to go to the hospital. Bates refused.

Later that evening, police carried out a welfare check at Bates’ home where officers said they could hear the defendant “singing happily in the house”.

Bates’ flatmate at the time told police Bates and their friends would joke about how many times they had interacted with the police, and that it “appeared to be a joke and a competition”, the summary said.

On July 10, Bates was seen in a TikTok video with the caption: “Us ignoring ‘No Caller ID’ knowing it’s the Police.”

Over the course of the next week, Bates continued to send various helplines false claims of suicidal thoughts before being found and arrested.

According to the summary, Bates told the officers they had been “waiting for the police” and that ”wasting police time was a TikTok trend”.

Anthony Phelps/STUFF

Blenheim police officers dealt with Bates 121 times over six months. (File photo)

Bates was charged with wasting police time, behaving in a manner likely to give rise to serious apprehension for their safety, and knowing that such apprehension was groundless.

Bates’ lawyer Josh Smith asked for name suppression for his client, but Judge Tompkins refused.

“On what basis? The defendant has been publicising this on social media.”

Police prosecutor Nick Cooke also opposed name suppression, saying the defendant had “wanted notoriety” from her TikTok posts.

Bates was convicted and sentenced to 50 hours’ community service.

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