Local woman phoned 999 to demand lift home from hospital

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A 55-YEAR-OLD woman from Portrush was intoxicated at Causeway Hospital where she was abusive to staff telling them it was their “f--king job” to get her a lift home and then she phoned police asking for them for transport to her house.

And when police arrived at the hospital to deal with her disorderly behaviour the woman attempted to get into the vehicle thinking her ‘lift’ had arrived, North Antrim Magistrates’ Court in Coleraine heard last Wednesday.

A prosecutor said Selina Mary Johnston, of Glenbush Drive, was at the hospital on October 21 last year and police received a call from nursing staff that the defendant was being abusive to staff and continually pressing a buzzer.

The prosecutor then said police received two 999 calls from Johnston asking for a lift home.

When police arrived in response to being called by the hospital they noticed Johnston had a half bottle of vodka in her pocket.

Police were told the defendant had told staff she had no way home as she had no money to pay a taxi and she told a nurse it was her “f--king job” to get her a lift and that she would “stick the half bottle of vodka where she would not like it”.

When later interviewed by police, Johnston said she had little memory of the incidents.

The court was also told that on October 20 last year police received a number of 999 calls requesting assistance and when they arrived they found Johnston was intoxicated but that there was no emergency and she was arrested.

Defence solicitor Derwin Harvey said a pre-sentence report indicated a reluctance by Johnston to accept assistance for her problems.

He said a GP medical report highlighted ongoing mental health problems.

He said his client lives in a one-bedroom house in the Dhu Varren estate where, he alleged, “she is a source of amusement to local youths who torment her”.

He said she has little contact with her daughters nor her family who mostly live in the Omagh area.

Mr Harvey said the defendant - who came to court using a walking aid - previously had cancer and the offences tied in with ongoing tests about cancer or a possible bone injury.

Regarding the disturbance at the hospital, Mr Harvey said Johnston had been brought there by ambulance and she found herself there on crutches with no money and no way back to Portrush and that was why she phoned 999.

He said it would be wrong to send his client to prison at a cost of £800 per week for what he said boiled down to “nuisance” offences as opposed to her being a risk to the public.

Johnston had pleaded guilty to being disorderly and improper use of a public electronic communications network to cause annoyance, inconvenience or needless anxiety.

District Judge Richard Wilson told the defendant: “Johnston you are making yourself a bit of a laughing stock for a lot of young fellows who have nothing better to do for their entertainment but you are becoming a very distinct nuisance.

“But being a nuisance up at the hospital - where people are coming to receive care - I do not appreciate.”

Mr Wilson said she was given a suspended sentence last June for similar offences and yet Johnston was offending again in the autumn.

Johnston told the court she would not like to go to jail and said she hoped to get some help from a family member who is moving to the Castlerock area.

Mr Wilson deferred sentencing until November 18 and told the defendant to go to her doctor to seek help and not commit any further offences.

He added: “If she has there will be one certainty that she will be having her turkey at Her Majesty’s pleasure.”