Defendant ‘lucky to avoid jail’ after ‘appalling’ behaviour at Antrim Hospital

Police had to be called after a drug addict patient in a ward at Antrim Area Hospital began shouting demanding Diazepam which prompted a judge to say: “A worse case of behaviour in a hospital I haven’t seen in a long time”.

During the incident at 7pm on June 26 last year, Nicky McMurray (24), formerly with an address at Main Street in Castledawson, kept approaching a “confused” elderly patient in the ward, Antrim Magistrates Court, sitting in Ballymena (June 7), was told.

At one stage the defendant grabbed a phone from staff and attempted to smash it on the ground.

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A prosecutor said police were called in connection with McMurray - a patient in Ward B - being “agitated” and “pestering patients and staff”.

Ballymena Courthouse.

He had had been “continuously demanding Diazepam from staff” and shouting at the top of his voice and pacing up and down the ward and annoying other patients.

When arrested and taken in to custody, McMurray made admissions and “felt terrible” as there were elderly people on the ward, the court heard.

The defendant travelled to court from Liverpool where he had made “very good progress” in rehab at Victory Outreach Church where he is now in a “leadership” voluntary role.

Sentencing had been deferred from last year to see if the defendant could stay out of trouble and continue with his rehab and the court was told he had met both conditions.

A defence barrister said McMurray has “turned his life around”.

The lawyer said the hospital offence and the tragic death of a friend due to an “overdose” had been a “wake-up call” for the defendant.

Deputy District Judge Austin Kennedy said McMurray’s behaviour at the hospital was “simply quite appalling” and he was “extremely lucky” to avoid jail.

The defendant was given a three months prison term, suspended for two years.

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