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Northern Ireland man who bit nurse's finger and spat in face of police officer jailed

By Nevin Farrell

A man who had to be sedated after biting a nurse's finger and spitting in the face of a police officer, has been jailed for eight months.

Gary McDonnell (20), of Birch Hill Park, had been taken to Antrim Area Hospital in August last year after becoming aggressive when police were called to a report of him self-harming at the town's Seacash Walk.

Whilst at the hospital he shouted abuse including the phrase "Fenian b*******".

Also last year, on July 12, the prosecutor said McDonnell went to his mother's home at Rathmore Gardens, Antrim. He was clutching a knife and demanding entry and caused damage after kicking a door.

The defendant shouted at his brother through a letterbox but fled before police came.

The prosecuting lawyer said McDonnell told police he had no memory of the hospital incident and was sorry.

Defence barrister Michael Smith said his client had a long history of drug and alcohol abuse and on July 12 last year was threatening to self-harm when he had gone to his mother's house.

Mr Smith said his client had already spent time on remand in custody and had been 'at large' for a period.

McDonnell pleaded guilty to charges which included assaults; criminal damage; disorderly behaviour; breach of a Non-Molestation Order and possession of an offensive weapon.

He appeared at Ballymena Magistrates Court on Thursday where Deputy District Judge Joe Rice said it seemed McDonnell had no respect for his mother, family or those at the hospital.

The judge said the defendant was given chances before by the courts but he had not taken the opportunity to avoid jail.

Jailing McDonnell for eight months he said there had been "a very limited sense of remorse".

The judge added: "The public needs to be protected".

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