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Patient who kicked out at nurse and shouted Billy Boys lyrics in hospital is jailed

By Alan Erwin

Published 01/09/2015

A patient who kicked out at a nurse and shouted the words to the Billy Boys song during an outburst of hospital aggression has been jailed for four months.

Belfast Magistrates' Court heard Leighton Gillard also spat at policemen and bit one officer's finger amid efforts to restrain him.

A judge told the 24-year-old his behaviour on the accident and emergency ward of the city's Mater Hospital in June was "absolutely unforgivable".

Gillard, of Oldpark Road in Belfast, pleaded guilty to five separate assaults on police, disorderly behaviour, resisting police, and a further common assault.

Prosecutors said officers had been called to a building in North Queen Street following reports the defendant was threatening to jump off scaffolding.

He was noted to have cuts to his arm and taken to hospital after being brought down.

As a staff nurse tried to help him he kicked out at a table, striking her in the stomach, the court heard.

Despite apologising to her Gillard's violent behaviour continued, spitting and biting at police.

A prosecution lawyer said: "At this time in Accident and Emergency he was shouting 'We are the Billy Boys'."

Gillard also admitted other disorderly behaviour and resisting police offences from a separate incident in the city earlier the same month.

Defence solicitor Eoghan McKenna argued that he had been in a distressed state linked to mental health issues.

Even though his client has amassed 109 previous convictions, Mr McKenna claimed he had managed to keep out of trouble for lengthy periods.

But jailing Gillard for a total of four months, District Judge Peter King told him: "The offences on June 27 involved both police officers and staff at one of our city's hospitals.

"That sort of behaviour is absolutely unforgivable and has to be dealt with in a way that sends out the largest possible deterrent (message)."

With the defendant confirming his intention to appeal the sentence, Judge King agreed to release him on bail pending the outcome of that hearing.

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