Patient who ‘tried to get at nurse’ in Mater Hospital jailed

The Mater Hospital in Belfast.  Photo: Jonathan Porter/Presseye
The Mater Hospital in Belfast. Photo: Jonathan Porter/Presseye

An “aggressive” patient who tried to get at a nurse as she hid behind a door has been jailed for four months.

Stephen Large started shouting and swearing at having to wait for treatment in Belfast’s Mater Hospital on Sunday, prosecutors said.

The 30-year-old, of no fixed address, was told his offences warranted immediate imprisonment.

A judge at Belfast Magistrates Court said: “This lady has to come back to work the next day after being subjected to this.”

Large pleaded guilty to common assault and disorderly behaviour.

Crown lawyer Natalie Pinkerton said he arrived at the hospital with facial injuries.

“He became aggressive with staff on being told he would have to wait to be seen,” she told the court.

Ms Pinkerton said the defendant clenched his fists at a staff nurse, forcing her to lock herself into a room.

Although Large started pushing against the door, she managed to keep it closed.

He continued shouting abuse after police arrived, and later claimed he couldn’t remember the incident because he had taken tablets.

Defence solicitor Pearse MacDermott stressed the victim suffered no physical harm, but accepted medical staff should not have to deal with any threatening behaviour.

Mr MacDermott said Large, who was only released from jail earlier this month, had gone to the hospital after being assaulted earlier in the evening.

“He has said that he wants to apologise to the nurse in question,” the lawyer added.

Acknowledging Large is now facing a “rotating door” of imprisonment, District Judge Fiona Bagnall confirmed: “There will be four months in custody.”