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Mother-of-two who kicked nurses in Antrim hospital avoids jail

Antrim Area Hospital
Antrim Area Hospital

By Sarah Henderson

A mother-of-two who kicked one nurse in the stomach and another in the ribs after being taken to Antrim Area Hospital with a head injury following a drunken fall has avoided jail.

Lauren Victoria Houston (25), from Fennel Road in Antrim, appeared at the town’s magistrates’ court on Christmas Eve for sentencing in relation to incidents in the early hours of Halloween this year.

A prosecutor said police called to Railway Street at 2.30am on October 31 found the defendant in the back of an ambulance, shouting and swearing at paramedics.

The court was told she then kicked a police officer in the legs in the ambulance and kicked another in the face after being taken to hospital.

When she was later interviewed, Houston said she had been drinking and “felt awful” about what she had done.

Letters of apology were handed in to the court for what a defence lawyer accepted had been “absolutely appalling behaviour”.

He said it was accepted that a hospital should be a “safe and sacrosanct environment” and added: “Hospital staff don’t deserve this sort of behaviour.”

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The lawyer stressed the incidents had been caused by a combination of alcohol and a head injury, which Houston suffered after falling while under the influence.

He also told the court his client was now “completely clear of substances”.

The barrister said a pre-sentence report showed a “softer side” to Houston and the probation service had recommended a community disposal.

District Judge Nigel Broderick said he would normally consider custody in cases where someone had assaulted hospital staff and police.

However, he also accepted that the defendant was a mother of two children and had a limited criminal record.

He ordered her to complete 100 hours of community service and imposed a probation order.

Judge Broderick also warned the defendant that if she breached the terms of her probation, she would be jailed.

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