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Saturday, 20 December 2014

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Alcoholic Barrow man punched hospital porter after passing out

A 49-YEAR-OLD Barrow alcoholic collapsed in the street after downing a bottle of stolen whisky – then attacked a hospital porter who was trying to help him.

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‘appalling record’ Gary McNeil

Magistrates described Gary McNeil’s offending record as “appalling” and warned him he could be jailed as they banned him from entering any Co-op store in the country.

McNeil, of Ainslie Street, Barrow, admitted theft from a shop and assaulting Jack Hetherington on February 2 when he appeared before Furness Magistrates’ Court on Tuesday.

Mrs Lisa Hine, prosecuting, said McNeil was spotted by staff in the Co-op in Ainslie Street at about 3.30pm and he was seen to steal a bottle of whisky.

She said staff didn’t want to approach him because of his demeanour so let him leave and called the police.

She added: “He could be seen on the CCTV taking the bottle.

“He was later found collapsed on the street after drinking the whisky. He was taken to Furness General Hospital. As a porter tried to move him he became aggressive and hit him across the chest by swinging his arm with his fist clenched. He called him fat and other insulting terms.

“In interview he said he remembered drinking and going to the Co-op but that was it. He has convictions for violence and dishonesty.”

Mr Michael Graham, defending, said his client tended to drink heavily during periods of stress and had a problem with alcohol.

He said: “There is nothing to say in respect of the theft. The assault was obviously in drink and it is just fortunate it wasn’t more serious and the porter was just temporarily winded.” Presiding magistrate Mr Bob Fletcher told McNeil: “On its own these two offences are not at the grave end of the spectrum. Our main concern is that your record of offending is appalling.

“You also assaulted a hospital porter who was trying to help you because of your drunken stupor that you caused. We’re not ruling out custody.”

McNeil was released on conditional bail while a pre-sentence report is prepared. He has been banned from entering any Co-op store in the country. He will be back before the court on February 24.

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