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A&E guard's arm bitten in attack frenzy

A HOSPITAL patient who sprayed a security staff member with his blood and threatened to bite his ear off before biting his arm has been given an 18-month suspended sentence.

Stephen O'Rourke (27), of Palmerstown Woods, Dublin, told a security guard that he had Aids as blood spurted from his arm.

He had pleaded guilty in the Circuit Criminal Court to assaulting John Mooney at Tallaght Hospital in April 2008.

The court heard how O'Rourke had been brought to A&E unconscious.

When a doctor applied pressure on his chest to wake him, O'Rourke said: "Get your f****** hands off me."

Security man John Mooney tried to intervene and the court was told that O'Rourke called him a "scumbag" and tried to butt him. He then pushed the security man, who fell back against a trolley.

At this point the accused ripped a tube out of his arm and as the blood spurted out he told Mr Mooney he had Aids. He said he would bite his ear off and then bit his left arm.



heroin

Subsequent tests showed Mr Mooney had not been infected with a communicable disease.

Counsel for the accused said his client had a serious drug problem, had been addicted to heroin since 13 and was on a methadone programme.

On the day of the incident he had been admitted to hospital because of suspected overdose. His medication had been changed that day and he could have mistakenly taken the wrong amount.

Judge Pat McCartan said O'Rourke had "managed to string this case along for upwards of four years" and had "come to court empty-handed". He had "singularly failed" over the four years to offer the injured man any compensation.

Judge McCartan said he was taking into account that, although the accused had 19 previous convictions for burglary, theft, criminal damage and road traffic offences, he had not come to the attention of the gardai since this hospital incident.

Judge McCartan imposed an 18-month prison term suspended in full. He ordered that the €2,000 held on a bail bond for the case be paid to Mr Mooney "by way of a gesture", which he hoped would come as a "small but pleasant surprise".

hnews@herald.ie


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