Woman jailed after ‘alcohol fuelled’ outburst in A&E

A woman who shouted, swore and made homophobic remarks during an “alcohol fuelled” outburst in A&E has been jailed for 10 months.

Sarah Patterson, 36, had been on bail when she turned up drunk at the Gilbert Bain Hospital on 26th June.

Procurator fiscal Duncan MacKenzie told Lerwick Sheriff Court on Wednesday that Patterson was “disruptive and abusive” towards staff.

Once the police arrived, Patterson “immediately started shouting and swearing”. Mr MacKenzie said that was “her usual conduct when intoxicated”.

Her abusive comments included homophobic remarks, he said.

The court heard that Patterson, of Hill Grind, Lerwick, had her sentencing deferred in April relating to two other charges involving abusive behaviour.

The deferral had been a chance for her to show good behaviour.

Sheriff Ian Cruickshank said Patterson had failed to do so. He said her offending in an A&E department was of particular concern.

“At the end of the day this is just a further example of totally unacceptable alcohol fuelled vitriolic vituperation,” he said.

Sheriff Cruickshank said a custodial sentence “is the only way it can be dealt with” and jailed Patterson for 10 months.

Defence agent Tommy Allan had acknowledged “this kind of behaviour is something the court has had to deal with before with respect to my client”.

He said Patterson was “mortified” by her behaviour, particularly as the police officer had provided her “with a great deal of assistance over the years”.

Mr Allan said his client had come out rehab in May, stayed clean of drugs, and was due to start a substance abuse programme.

He said her stint in rehab had been cut short as the facility was near to where she had family members also struggling with substance issues.

However on the weekend in question, he said Patterson had “opened the door to an acquaintance who will be well known to this court”.

He said that was “spectacularly ill advised”.

“She should have known that but was unable to say no,” he added.

“Inevitably, what happened then was that she consumed alcohol and ended up in hospital – the same old story.”

Patterson’s previous offences, for which sentencing had been deferred, dated back to 2020.

In May that year she had phoned her ex-partner to shout swear and utter threats including to stab and slit the throat of another woman and her children.

And in November she assaulted a woman at an address in Lerwick by spitting at her and hitting her head, knocking her to the ground.

Once the police arrived, she continued to behave in an abusive manner, including making threats, smashing a picture and “making grossly offensive, derogatory, abusive and racist remarks”.

Patterson’s 10 month sentence has been backdated to 27th June, which was when she was first taken into custody.


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