‘Very drunk’ contractor spat at paramedics and police

A man who spat at emergency workers after waking from a “drunken stupor” has been warned “all options” will be considered in sentencing.

Stephen Whitehead has been released on bail at Lerwick Sheriff Court after he admitted spitting at a paramedic and a police officer in the early hours of Friday.

The 32-year-old, of Moffatt Road, Owton Manor, Hartlepool, spent the weekend in the police cells after he was spotted lying near a fire exit at the Lerwick Hotel.

Procurator fiscal Duncan MacKenzie said Whitehead was “very drunk”, had “urinated all over himself” and was “muttering incoherently”.

Police attended, and called an ambulance. But by the time it arrived Whitehead had “come round from his drunken stupor”.

“His first engagement with the paramedic was to spit at her, just missing her face,” the fiscal added.

Attempts were made to put a “spit-hood” on him, but before it could be secured he was spitting again at police and “subjecting them to a non-stop tirade of abuse”.

Whitehead was taken to hospital, but his behaviour got no better. He began shouting and swearing and had to be physically restrained.

Mr MacKenzie said dealing with people such as Whitehead should “never be routine” for emergency or health service workers.

“In an accident and emergency there will be people there who are in dire need of help and those in very dire situations indeed.

“Families may be there, anxious about those people in dire need of attention. The very last thing they should have to contend with is disgusting behaviour like that.”

Defence agent Richard Donaldson said Whitehead, a contractor, had “very little recollection” of the incident.

He said Whitehead had been working on Thursday and had gone drinking with colleagues afterwards.

Mr Donaldson said Whitehead did not drink often, and was “obviously very drunk” when the offence took place.

“He is absolutely disgusted with his actions and apologises to those affected by them,” he added.
Sheriff Philip Mann deferred sentence for reports.

“You’re right to be disgusted by your behaviour. This behaviour can not be tolerated, or condoned,” he told Whitehead.

He added that sentencing was as much about “sending a message” or a deterrent as it was about punishment, and added: “I will be considering all options.”

Whitehead will appear in court again on 8th June.


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