Woman cost FSR and A&E almost £40,000

A 37-years-old woman has cost Foyle Search & Rescue almost £15,000 and the Accident & Emergency Department at Altnagelvin Hospital approximately £25,000 in the last year, a court has heard.

Tuesday, 26th March 2019, 1:00 pm

Derry Magistrate’s Court heard the city’s fourth emergency service has intervened to assist Leona Devlin 74 times between January 1, 2018 and February 10, this year.

It was also revealed Devlin, who has a history of mental health issues, attending Accident & Emergency 132 times over the same time period

District Judge Barney McElholm said he is the first to criticise when mental health services don’t offer people appropriate help.

However, in this case: “They have offered her a place in a specialist unit in England where she can get specific treatment to help her cope with her situation and she has refused it.

“In fact she has stopped engaging completely with all professional help.”

The judge said he did not have the legislative power to send Devlin to this unit, unlike in England or Wales.

“Here, much like with RHI, certain wording was left out of the legislation and again it was quite deliberate on the part of the people who left it out. Obviously, people in Westminster don’t deem us worthy of having the same access to facilities as people in Kent or Leicestershire or where ever.”

Devlin, of Spencer Road, appeared in court for three different sets of offences committed between June 25, 2018 and January 12, this year.

She admitted disorderly behaviour in Altnagevlin Hospital, assaulting police, driving whilst unfit and other motoring offences.

The court was told that in June, last year, Devlin was involved in a car accident on Carlisle Road.

After she collided with the rear of another vehicle, she was found slumped at the wheel mumbling her words and her eyes were heavy.

The defendant was arrested and found to be under the influence of drugs.

The following month she was detained under the Mental Health Act after consuming a significant quantity of drugs.

Devlin was taken to Altnagelvin Hospital, where she attempted to escape.

The court heard she injured a police officer’s shoulder during the attempt and went on to behave in a disorderly manner in the hospital, shouting obscenities in general and at individuals.

The 37-years-old was removed from the hospital and arrested.

A similar incident occurred in January when Devlin was taken to hospital after an intervention by Foyle Search & Rescue.

Defence counsel Stephen Chapman said his client has a personality disorder and the help she requires is not available in this jurisdiction.

He said it is accepted Devlin’s behaviour has a cost to the public purse and this was outlined in a Probation Pre-Sentence Report.

Judge McElholm suspended a six month sentence for three years and fined Devlin a total of £400. He also disqualified her from driving for 18 months.