Belfast Telegraph

Ex-nurse harassed emergency staff on nearly 200 occasions

Denise Gray has been given a three-year Asbo
Denise Gray has been given a three-year Asbo

By Staff Reporter

A former nurse involved in almost 200 incidents has been given a three-year Asbo banning her from harassing and verbally abusing and assaulting members of the emergency services.

Denise Gray (56), formerly with an address listed as Circular Road in Coleraine but now of Staffa Drive in Ballymena, came to police attention on August 29 this year at Coleraine's Causeway Hospital, where she was causing a disturbance and shouting foul language at staff.

She previously pleaded guilty to charges of being disorderly at the hospital and assaulting a police officer on the same date.

It emerged there was no medical reason for her to remain in the hospital and she swore at police and officers gave her a lift home from the emergency department.

However, at her address she then refused to exit the police vehicle.

A short time later outside her front door she struck out twice with an elbow towards an officer, narrowly missing his face.

Gray continued to shout and slipped her hand out of handcuffs and swung towards the officer, narrowly missing him.

Defence solicitor Stewart Ballentine told a previous sitting of Coleraine Magistrates Court the "irony" in the case was that Gray had previously worked as a nurse in England and had been subject to disruptive patients during her career.

The lawyer said it was a "sad case" as Gray returned to Northern Ireland around 10 years ago and her "life has gone into freefall", with drink being her "ruination".

He said she had also worked in charity shops in the past but now had medical and mental health conditions.

At the earlier court hearing Gray had wept in the dock as a police officer applied for an interim Anti-Social Behaviour Order (Asbo) banning the defendant from harassing the emergency services, including making non-emergency calls.

The officer said there had been "196 incidents of abuse towards the emergency services and abuse of the emergency services" and a cycle involved making phone calls and drinking alcohol.

The defendant had moved address 14 times in recent years, the court heard.

Speaking from the dock, Gray told the earlier court: "I am wrong, I know I'm wrong."

District Judge Peter King had told that hearing the defendant had "exhausted" the patience of the emergency services and said although custody had to be the last resort because of Gray's "issues", an interim Asbo was "absolutely appropriate" as offences mentioned in court were "the tip of a much larger iceberg".

The judge had told Gray: "As a former nurse you don't need me to tell you that this behaviour is completely and utterly unacceptable."

At the court at the end of October, Gray was given a six months prison term, suspended for three years, and an interim Asbo banned her from harassing the emergency services including making non-emergency phone calls and she also had to leave hospitals if asked to.

The interim Asbo expired this week and she was back in court.

Her solicitor said there had been no further "misdemeanours" involving Gray since the interim Asbo was granted.

Judge King then made the interim Asbo a three-year one.

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