Northern Ireland news

Teenager jailed for punching nurse in stomach at Mater Hospital

The Mater Hospital in north Belfast. Picture by Mal McCann

A teenager has been jailed for punching a nurse in the stomach at a Belfast hospital.

Calum Carruth received a four-month sentence for the attack his own lawyer described as "outrageous".

The 19-year-old pleaded guilty to assaulting the victim as she treated him at the Mater Hospital.

Belfast Magistrates' Court heard that he was admitted on March 6 with suspected self-harm wounds.

When the nurse became concerned and asked Carruth to move position on his bed he responded by telling her to "f*** off".

Prosecution counsel said: "She attempted to move him, and he punched her in the stomach with his fist, causing instant pain."

Carruth, with a hostel address at Centenary House on Victoria Street in the city, then swore at another member of staff who witnessed the assault.

Following his arrest by police he claimed to have no memory of the incident.

A defence solicitor insisted Carruth now realised the seriousness of the offence and has shown genuine remorse.

"His own mother works in the health and social care sector," the lawyer said.

"He's well aware how outrageous his behaviour has been on this occasion."

District Judge George Conner was told Carruth has a history of drug abuse and mental health problems.

Imposing the four-month sentence, Mr Conner said: "It's a serious matter that justifies a custodial sentence, and in the circumstances I have no alternative."

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Northern Ireland news