Jailed: Men from Tower Hamlets who cut through electrical cables at hospital

Jonathan Whitty and Patrick Kiely. Picture: Kent Police

Jonathan Whitty and Patrick Kiely. Picture: Kent Police - Credit: Kent Police

Five men who risked patients’ lives by cutting through electrical cables at a hospital have been jailed.

Thomas Kiely and James Kiely. Picture: Kent Police

Thomas Kiely and James Kiely. Picture: Kent Police - Credit: Kent Police

The group - four of whom are from Tower Hamlets - targeted Queen Elizabeth, the Queen Mother Hospital in Margate, Kent, on the evening of Feburary 20.

Police were made aware of a major incident being declared at the hospital due to a power outage, which saw emergency battery power needed to support patients on life support and drug machines.

Patients requiring the accident and emergency departments were diverted to other hospitals around Kent, meaning ambulances had to travel further and could treat fewer people.

Two cables connecting the generator had been cut through, with CCTV footage showing five men in hard hats and high visibility jackets pull up in a van. They then used bolt croppers to cut the cables, causing a small explosion.

This caused the group - James Kiely, Patrick Kiely, Noel Mahoney, Jonathan Whitty and Thomas Kiely - to flee the scene.

Four of the group were arrested after officers from West Midlands Police found the van the following day, with Thomas Kiely, 27, arrested in London in April.

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They were all charged with conspiracy to steal and criminal damage with intent to endanger life.

The group pleaded guilty to all the charges against them with the exception of James Kiely, 37, who denied he intended to endanger lives. He was found not guilty after a trial at Birmingham Crown Court.

The group were all sentenced at the same court on Friday, November 8.

Mahoney, 23 and of Old Willow Close, Bow, was jailed for five years and three months while Whitty, 38 and of Fairfield Road, Bow, was jailed for six years and four months.

Patrick Kiely, 35, of Devons Road, Bromley-by-Bow, was jailed for five years and eight months.

James Kiely, of Darlingscote Road, Shipston on Stour, Warwickshire, was jailed for three years and nine months.

Thomas Kiely, of no fixed address but staying in Tower Hamlets, was jailed for seven years and four months, taking into account an unrelated burglary.

Det Insp Kristian Eberlien branded the group's actions "despicable and deliberate".

He added: "It's believed all of this was done to make money from the metals found in cabling.

"The selfish acts of these five men could have meant the difference between life and death for patients reliant on the life-saving treatment at the hospital.

"These criminals targeted a hospital and to suggest it is one of the lowest and most despicable acts I've seen doesn't begin to describe it."