Spat at police, said: ‘I’ve got hepatitis’

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A man who spat blood at police told officers he had hepatitis, a court has heard.

Shaun Patrick Tracey, whose address was given as no fixed abode, pleaded guilty to common assault, disorderly behaviour, resisting police and criminal damage on April 19.

Derry Magistrates Court heard the 27-year-old stopped a woman in the city centre and asked her where the courthouse was. When she was unable to tell him, he punched her in the face.

Police were provided with a description of Tracey and he was stopped close to the courthouse. Tracey became abusive when he was approached by police and was arrested.

The court was told that Tracey was in a “catatonic state” and police decided to take him to hospital. However, he came round and became abusive, aggressive and made numerous threats.

He continued to be abusive in the hospital and spat blood in the face of a police officer.

It was revealed Tracey claimed he suffered from hepatitis and that he was a drug user.

He continued to be abusive and made further threats to police he was going to shoot them and their families.

Tracey calmed down and allowed hospital staff to treat him. However, when he was being taken to the police station he spat in the car several times.

During police interview, Tracey denied assaulting the woman and claimed he couldn’t remember anything.

The court was told the cost of giving the police vehicle a deep clean was over £200.

A defence solicitor said her client “doesn’t have and was never suspected to have hepatitis”. She added Tracey doesn’t know why he acted the way he did but wished to apologise “for the alarm” he caused.

The solicitor said the 27-year-old has a significant alcohol problem and this incident was “alcohol fuelled”.

Jailing Tracey for six months, District Judge Barney McElholm said the unprovoked assault was “absolutely outrageous”.

The judge also ordered him to pay a total of £400 to each of the injured parties. He said he would not impose an order in relation to cleaning the police car as it was “more fitting he pay compensation to his victims”.