Spared jail: the drunk who assaulted a Sunderland paramedic sent to help him

Mark Heron, near to Sunderland Magistrates Court.
Mark Heron, near to Sunderland Magistrates Court.
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A DRUNK who spat in a paramedic’s face has been given a suspended sentence.

Mark Heron – who has nearly 400 offences on his record – assaulted the emergency worker as he was trying to help him, after he was found sprawled out in Sunderland’s Barnes Park.

Heron continued the assault, showering the back of an ambulance with spit, and eventually police were called.

The 47-year-old told officers he could not remember the attack and admitted he was a “devil in drink”.

He was remanded in custody and brought before Sunderland Magistrates’ Court the following day.

Heron, who has 232 convictions for 389 offences, pleaded guilty to assault.

Prosecutor Paul Anderson read out a statement to the court, in which the paramedic of 24 years’ service explained that he felt sorry for Heron.

He said: “I have a strong duty of care in assisting the public.

“I find this incident sickening and distressing. It never occurred to me that I would be spat on, although I have sympathy with this individual.”

Heron, of The Mowbray in Borough Road, Sunderland, apologised to police once he was sober enough to be interviewed.

He told officers he had been drinking since 8pm the night before and ended the binge with a bottle of cider, which he bought from a petrol station on Barnes roundabout.

Joanne Gatens, defending, told the bench that Heron needed professional help for his drink problem, but said that he had been drinking less.

Magistrates, sentencing him at a hearing on Wednesday, ordered he serve 12 weeks in prison, suspended for 12 months.