Northern Ireland

Prison sentences: Two jailed for separate assaults at Royal Victoria Hospital, Belfast

Image caption A man and a woman have been jailed for separate assaults at Belfast's Royal Victoria Hospital earlier this year

A man and a woman have been jailed for behaving aggressively in Belfast's Royal Victoria Hospital.

Gerard Magee, 34, and Ashley Fleming, 23, received prison terms of five months and four months respectively for separate assaults.

A district judge hit out at those who subject medical staff to abuse and violent threats.

Judge Fiona Bagnall said hospital staff had to endure this type of behaviour "as a matter of course".

Fleming, of Brown Street, Belfast, struck a nurse in the ribs and spat on a curtain partition in a ward after she arrived at casualty on 3 June. She also threw resuscitation equipment and a defibrillator to the floor, although neither device was damaged.

At Belfast Magistrates Court on Monday, she admitted charges of assault, criminal damage and attempted criminal damage.

Her defence lawyer said her life had "spiralled out of control" since losing custody of her child. He said his client was "completely off her head" and could not remember what happened.

Magee, of North Queen Street in the city, attended the RVH for treatment to his ear on 19 May.

Prosecutors said he appeared drunk and started shouting abuse at staff. Security staff were called and one nurse was said to be afraid of Magee.

He also claimed he was "going to sue the hospital and everyone in it", the court was told. He was convicted of common assault and disorderly behaviour.

Magee's defence lawyer said he was dealing with bereavement following the deaths of "two key people in his life". However, the judge said hospital workers faced unfair and inappropriate disrespect "far too often".

She also ordered that Magee serve an extra month behind bars for a separate breach of a probation order.