Man who tried to bite police claimed he had Aids

Ciaran McMurray became unruly after being taken to the Royal Victoria Hospital
Ciaran McMurray became unruly after being taken to the Royal Victoria Hospital

A man who became unruly in a Belfast hospital after trying to bite and spit on police, claiming he had Aids, has avoided imprisonment.

Ciaran McMurray instead received a five-month suspended jail term for the outburst of aggression which led to him being Tasered.

The 32-year-old, of Jubilee Road in the city, claims his actions were fuelled by having his drink spiked.

Belfast Magistrates’ Court heard McMurray was arrested in July last year after his brother reported he had been self-harming.

Officers who located him in an alleyway at Rugby Avenue had to be deploy a Taser stun-gun due to his behaviour, a prosecution lawyer said.

He was handcuffed and detained at first under the Mental Health Act due to fresh cuts on his wrists.

But when an ambulance arrived he was obstructive and thrashed about en route to the Royal Victoria Hospital.

“He threatened to spit and bite anyone touching him, claiming he had the disease of Aids,” the prosecutor added.

During the violent outburst he kicked an officer twice, as well as attempting to carry out the spitting and biting threats.

On arrival at the accident and emergency ward McMurray shouted a series of obscenities.

He was discharged from the hospital after medical staff confirmed that there were no mental health issues.

Defence counsel Sean O’Hare acknowledged the court would be “horrified” by his client’s behaviour.

“The defendant found himself with a cocktail of drink and drugs in his system and says that wasn’t entirely from his own hand,” the barrister said.

“At least some of them were as a result of having his drink spiked.”

Despite claiming to have no memory of his actions at the hospital, McMurray admitted disorderly behaviour, along with two counts of assault on police and resisting arrest.

Mr O’Hare described him as a vulnerable man who has suffered a number of personal difficulties.

After being told no physical contact was made with any hospital staff, District Judge Fiona Bagnall decided against immediate custody.

Imposing a five-month sentence in total, she suspended the term for 18 months.