Former nurse who was disorderly at hospital is given ASBO banning her from harassing emergency services

Denise Gray

A FORMER nurse has been hit with an ASBO stopping her from harassing the emergency services including police and the Ambulance Service.

Denise Gray (56), with an address listed as Circular Road in Coleraine, came to 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 Coleraine Magistrates Court the defendant was now back living in the Ballymena area.

He said the “irony” in the case was that Gray had previously worked as a nurse in England and had been the subject of disruptive patients during her career.

The lawyer said it was a “sad case” as Gray returned to Northern Ireland around ten 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.

The defendant 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 said: “I am wrong, I know I’m wrong”.

District Judge Peter King said the defendant had “exhausted” the patience of the emergency services and said although he said 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 told Gray: “As a former nurse you don’t need me to tell you that this behaviour is completely and utterly unacceptable.”

The defendant was given a six months prison term, suspended for three years, and an interim ASBO bans her from harassing the emergency services including making non-emergency phone calls and she must leave hospitals if asked to.

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