A male who spat at nurses who were trying to treat him at Royal Shrewsbury Hospital has been sent to prison for 18 months.
Andrew Lesley, who has Hepatitis C, deliberately bit the inside of his mouth before spitting blood at a nurse and at a security guard.
He also later went on to assault a police officer who attended the scene.
Hospital staff called the police after they were unable to restrain Lesley after he turned violent towards the medical team who were trying to treat him following a drug overdose.
During the incident, Lesley also used racist and abusive language towards the staff at the hospital.
Prosecuting barrister, Mr Philip Beardmore, told the Court:
“Lesley was being treated at Shrewsbury hospital for a potential drug overdose.
“It was believed that he had overdosed on medication that could have proved fatal if not treated.
“He started to lash out at staff who restrained him. They were losing control due to his behaviour. He swore at them calling a doctor offensive names. The police were called and he was restrained.
“Following sugar tests his levels were found to be normal.
“He began to lash out again and tried to bite the security guard and again called the staff names.
“He deliberately spat at a nurse and the spital landed inside her mouth.
“He also spat at the security guard and some landed on the back of his head. While one of the police officers was caught in the face.
“He told them he had Hepatitis C and he hoped they all died.
“While he was being restrained he kicked out at the officers narrowly missing them. They deployed a spit hood.
“After he was arrested he was found to have a small amount of cannabis for personal use in his clothing.
“During his police
The incident highlights the important need for spit guards to be available for front-line medical and emergency services personnel, as spit guards are the only practical way of stopping people from intentionally trying to share their contagious diseases with emergency services and NHS staff.
Whilst some human rights groups have called spit hoods ‘degrading’, many commentators in the policing community have pointed out that an innocent member of the emergency services or NHS becoming infected with a potentially life-threatening condition far outweighs the perceived ‘degradation’ that a violent suspect might feel.
It is not known if the nurse who was assaulted by Lesley ended up contracting the disease after Lesley spat blood into her mouth.
A source, who did not wish to be named, also told Emergency Services News that the on-call CPS lawyer at the time of charging Mr Lesley, had initially told officers to charge him with common assault, despite the efforts of Mr Lesley to try and infect medical staff with Hep C.
Mr Recorder Gareth Evans QC told Lesley:
“You seem to have problems with the police and authority. What happened clearly crosses the custody threshold.
“There was a time while you were being treated when you were not responsible for what you were doing.
“Then you came round and you were spitting at people, telling them that you had hepatitis C. You behaved disgracefully.
“I have come to the conclusion that you are going to prison today. I will not suspend the term.”
Lesley, who has previous convictions for similar matters, was jailed for a total of 18 months for the offences and must serve half the term.
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