Assaulted staff in Bluestone Unit

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A 38-year-old woman who assaulted two hospital staff members was given suspended prison sentences last Wednesday at Craigavon Magistrates Court.

Gwen McAvoy, Clonavon Avenue, Portadown, admitted two common assaults on two females on February 1 last year.

Sentencing in the case had been deferred for a period and an updated pre-sentence report was available for last week’s hearing.

The court heard that on February 1 police received a report of assaults on two female staff members in the Bluestone Unit at Craigavon Area Hospital.

They were trying to restrain the defendant and one injured party feared that she was going to be hit.

Another member of staff was taking McAvoy for a smoke when she lashed out and hit her on the arm and shoulder.

The defendant admitted there had been an altercation but denied any assault having taken place.

Mr Joe McDonald, representing the defendant, said she had been detained at the unit under the mental health act. He explained that she doesn’t like to be touched and on this occasion she wanted to go out for a cigarette. She had a very limited record.

District Judge, Mrs Bernie Kelly, said these were serious offences and that assaulting any member of the medical staff had to be taken seriously.

But, she added, McAvoy had kept out of trouble during the period of deferment but she had been left with no other sentencing options.

For each of the assaults she imposed a period of custody of four months which she suspended for two years.