Man threatened to smash window at Antrim Area hospital

A man with back pain claimed he thought lifting a metal bin and threatening to throw it through a reception area window at Antrim Area Hospital would help him receive medical attention more quickly.

Wednesday, 17th November 2021, 9:35 am

Details emerged at Antrim Magistrates Court sitting in Ballymena, where Stewart Beck (37), of Wakehurst Court in Ballymena, admitted putting a staff member in fear of assault and making a threat to damage a window on August 7 this year. The defendant appeared at court via a video link from prison.

A prosecutor said Beck told staff he was going to smash the window of the reception area and lifted a metal waste bin and held it above his head as if he was going to throw it, causing the two staff members behind the window to step back.

The prosecutor said one of the staff members said she was “panicked” by what happened. The defendant put the bin down and apologised. A member of staff hit a “panic button” for police to attend. The defendant expressed his remorse to police. When interviewed he said he had a sore back and was “frustrated” but said he had no intention of breaking the window but had threatened to do it “so he could get seen by medical staff”.

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A defence barrister said it was a “cry for help”. He said Beck realises it is “completely unacceptable” to behave in this way in any location, never mind a hospital. The lawyer said the defendant had been in “considerable physical pain” at the time. The lawyer said there “probably couldn’t be a worse way to go about trying to get assistance”. The barrister said the assault involved an ‘apprehension’. The lawyer said Beck “recognises people working in that environment have enough to be doing without dealing with people like him”..

District Judge Nigel Broderick said it was a “serious matter” as it happened in a hospital and jailed the defendant for four months.