Woman jailed for spitting at Borders hospital staff

The Borders General Hospital at Melrose.
The Borders General Hospital at Melrose.

A 22-year-old woman has been jailed for four months at Jedburgh Sheriff Court for spitting at security staff at the Borders General Hospital in Melrose.

Cassie Robotham pleaded guilty to those two assaults on hospital workers in the space of three months.

Sheriff Peter Paterson told her he had no alternative but to impose a jail sentence.

Outlining the details of the first offence in the hospital’s casualty department on March 10, depute fiscal Eilidh Robertson described how security officers started their shift at 10pm.

She said: “Shortly after that, they were required to attend at accident-and-emergency as the accused was causing problems and refusing to leave after being discharged.

“There were a number of people in the waiting room requiring treatment who witnessed this.

“The accused was shouting ‘f*****g doctor’ and was asked to calm down but started kicking equipment.”

Robotham then started shouting: “This is f*****g ridiculous. I want a doctor now. You are not helping.”

Ms Robertson added:”She was escorted out of the department but kept making attempts to run back in and then spat at a security officer which landed on his body.”

Robotham, formerly of Burnhead Road in Hawick and Grieve Avenue in Jedburgh, also pleaded guilty to a similar assault at the hospital on June 10.

She was abusive and made threats towards a security officer trying to calm her down and spat in his face.

Robotham spat again at the male guard just as police officers were arriving at the accident-and-emergency department to arrest her.

Her lawyer admitted: “Behaviour of this sort is bad enough, but when it happens at a hospital involving people trying to help you, then it is an aggravated offence.

“These are serious offences, and my client admits it is poor behaviour.”

Robotham was described as having mental health problems and it was said she had not taken her medication at the time of the offences.

Mr Paterson said that if it had been an isolated case, the court could have considered a community-based disposal, but he added: “Three months later, you commit the same offence at Borders General Hospital, where you again spit at members of the security staff in an environment where there are sick people waiting treatment.

“In my view, there is no alternative to a custodial sentence.”