Woman spared jail after attacking police officer at hospital

Sunderland Royal Hospital
Sunderland Royal Hospital

A young woman who set fire to her mother's curtains using a tin of hairspray has been given one last chance to turn her life around after assaulting a police officer in a drunken stupor.

Shannon Nilsson was handed a suspended prison sentence last year after pleading guilty to arson being reckless as to whether life was endangered for setting the fire at her mother's home when she was told she could no longer stay there.

The now 20-year-old was sentenced to 20 months in a young offenders’ institution suspended for two years in a last ditch attempt to curb her behaviour.

However, the troubled youngster found herself before a judge again after she admitted being drunk and disorderly and assaulting a police officer whilst she was subject to a suspended sentence.

Prosecutor Emma Dowling told Newcastle Crown Court that on June 12, Nilsson was taken to Sunderland Royal Hospital "extremely intoxicated" and began to cause a scene.

Police had been called to the home of a relative where Nilsson was arrested for breach of the peace and taken to a police station but after she complained of a head injury, was accompanied to hospital by officers.

Ms Dowling told the court that the ward sister at the hospital attempted to calm Nilsson, of Barnham Court, Sunderland. down with a cup of tea and a sandwich but she conducted herself in a manner which caused the nurse to feel "intimidated by her language and behaviour".

This continued as police tried to calm her down and resulted in a constable being hit in the head.

Ms Dowling said: "It is clear that she was very verbally abusive and also very drunk.

"The ward sister says that other patients were clearly upset by her behaviour.

"Although this type of behaviour is something that staff are used to dealing with, people need protection from this kind of behaviour."

A spokesperson from the probation service spoke on Nilsson's behalf and told the court that she has had a "very dysfunctional upbringing".

Jamie Adams, defending, said: "She is remorseful.

"She is working to deal with her drinking problem and she has been on a hairdressing course and gained an NVQ qualification.

"Things seem to be looking up."

Mr Recorder Tahir Khan said: "I have been persuaded that activating the suspended sentence today would not be wise."

He told Nilsson: "You are 20 years of age and you have been before the courts in the past mostly for nuisance offending."

He added that her behaviour at the hospital was "disgraceful".

"You caused people in the hospital to be upset," he told her. "That was most inconsiderate of you.

"People are clearly there looking after themselves or their loved ones. The last thing they need is a drunk and aggressive young woman making things more difficult.

"As for the staff, their job must have been made so much more difficult because of your disgraceful behaviour.

"You also pleaded guilty to assaulting a police officer who was only trying to do his job. Fortunately, no real injury was caused.

"This is more serious because of the fact that you committed these offences while under a suspended sentence order.

"You will go to prison if you do not learn from the mistakes that you have made.

"There is hope for you and you show signs of wanting to tackle the problems in your life.

"I'm going to give you the benefit of the doubt but this really is your last chance."

Mr Recorder Khan sentenced Nilsson to a 12 month community order for assaulting a police officer with no separate penalty for being drunk and disorderly.

He also ordered that she carry out a total of 20 days rehabilitation activity.

He told her: "Please do not throw away this opportunity to get your life back on track."