Five months for A&E offender with 165 convictions

A Derry man who turned up at Altnagelvin A&E on New Year’s Eve while intoxicated and then proceeded to abuse staff, assault a patient who tried to intervene, and kick a hole through a plasterboard wall, has been jailed for five months.

The city’s magistrate’s Court was told yesterday that Patrick Farren (51), of Stoneburn Place was a “tragic figure” who was “institutionalised to a large extent” and had spent a considerable amount of his life in prison.

Farren, the court was told, had 165 previous convictions - 88 of those for disorderly behaviour or rioting. He was also described as a man with a chronic alcohol problem who took more than 24 hours to sober up enough to be interviewed following the incident at Altnagelvin.

The court heard that Farren attended A&E in the early hours of January 31 in a highly agitated and intoxicated state - telling staff he felt suicidal. He was asked to take a seat and refused before he tried to light a cigarette. When it was explained to Farren that he could not smoke he replied: “I don’t give a f***, call the police.”

He then began swearing at the two female nurses - both of whom were pregnant. When a male patient tried to intervene, Farren lashed out and the pair ended up on the floor. When the patient stood up he had cuts and bleeding from his ear and chin.

Farren then threw himself to the floor and began banging his head off the floor and kicking out, breaking through a plasterboard wall.

Presiding judge Anne Marshall told Farren his actions were “appalling” and “deplorable”.

She also described his record as “appalling” before sentencing him to 5 months in jail and fining him £200.