A judge has jailed a frustrated patient who terrified nurses and bit two security guards during an early hours confrontation at Calderdale Royal Hospital.
Bradford Crown Court heard today (Friday) how 39-year-old Bulgarian Petar Penev feared his life was danger because of a recurrence of a heart problem, but he lashed out when the two guards tried to restrain him.
Penev’s barrister Ken Green suggested that his client’s extremely limited English had compounded the situation during the incident last October.
But Judge Jonathan Rose said the courts would respond firmly to such incidents to protect public service workers such as doctors, nursing staff and security guards.
“The National Health Service provides free treatment to all who enter the doors of accident and emergency units,” he told Penev through an interpreter.
“Those who staff such units are constantly in fear of attack usually by people who have had too much to drink or have taken drugs.
“It is outrageous that they seek to provide help and assistance and yet they fear for their own safety and when visitors to accident and emergency units behave in a way such as you have done the courts will respond firmly.”
The judge accepted that Penev was afraid because of his health problem and that his language problems may have left him frustrated, but he rejected any assertion that the defendant had not been receiving the proper treatment.
“It is clear though that your frustration caused you to behave in an aggressive and unreasonable manner,” the judge added.
“You caused such fear in the medical staff that they had to call for help from the security guards.
“I am told that nurses were so frightened that they hid from you and when security guards tried to restrain you, you punched them and bit them.”
The judge said a bite amounted to the use of a weapon which caused immediate pain and suffering and fear for the victim that they might be infected with a disease such as hepatitis or HIV.
The security guards, Michael Few and Gareth Millikan, were both bitten on the arm and had an anxious wait of about six months until they found out that tests for any diseases had proved negative.
Penev had been due to stand trial last December but failed to turn up at court having gone back to Buglaria due to a family illness.
The court heard he was re-arrested when he came back to this country in June and he later admitted two charges of assault occasioning actual bodily harm.
Judge Rose was shown a letter from Penev to his victims in which he expressed remorse for the attacks.
The judge told Penev that he had no alternative but to jail him for the offences though he appreciated his time in prison would be all the more difficult because of the language barrier.
Penev was sentenced to 12 months in prison for the assault offences with an additional one month in jail for failing to surrender to his bail last year.