Belfast Telegraph

Tuesday 2 September 2014

Jailed: thug who attacked pregnant nurses after going berserk in Altnagelvin Hospital A&E

Altnagelvin Hospital in Derry
Altnagelvin Hospital in Derry

A man with an extensive criminal record who assaulted two pregnant nurses at the A&E department of a hospital has been jailed.

Patrick Farren (51), of Stoneburn Place in Londonderry, admitted several charges of assault and criminal damage in the city's Altnagelvin Hospital on January 31.

Derry Magistrates Court was told that police were called to the A&E department at 4.30am after reports of an ongoing disturbance between two males, one of them Farren.

When they arrived, staff disclosed that Farren had arrived at 3am in an agitated state.

He had been asked to sit down and told a nurse: "I'll stand wherever I want."

He then began shouting and swearing at staff and at one stage lit a cigarette.

A staff nurse who was seven months pregnant told him he could not smoke in the hospital and he pushed past her and another nurse who was also pregnant.

He also shouted in one nurse's face: "You are a f****** whore, you are a f****** bitch."

One of the nurses assaulted by Farren has since had her baby and is on maternity leave.

A member of the public who tried to calm Farren down during his outburst became involved in an altercation with the accused and received injuries to his head.

When police arrived, Farren was lying on the ground kicking and banging his head off the floor.

He kicked a hole in the plasterboard wall and had to be restrained.

Defence solicitor Dermot Downey said Farren was well-known to the court and had "a significant record".

He said his client had no recollection of the incident and after being arrested in the early hours of Friday morning was not fit for interview until the next day.

Deputy District Judge Anne Marshall said that Farren had "an appalling record" with 165 previous convictions.

She said there were 19 assaults on police and 88 of rioting or disorderly behaviour.

The judge said Farren had only been released from prison a short time before "this appalling incident" and added that while both nurses were uninjured, they were badly shaken.

She sentenced Farren to five months in prison and fined him £20 for smoking in the hospital.

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