'Angry' woman threatened to slit nurse's throat at Tullamore Hospital
A WOMAN who threatened to slit a nurse's throat also broke a neighbour's window with a hammer and spat at gardai, Tullamore District Court heard last week.
A six-month prison sentence in the Dochas Centre was imposed on Tina Fee, 29, of 23 Cloncollig, Tullamore, after Judge Catherine Staines was given details of offences committed in January.
The offences were committed a month after a suspended sentence was imposed on Ms Fee for similar crimes last September.
Ms Fee, who was in custody when she appeared in court, pleaded guilty to threatening to break windows at the Bannon Centre, Tullamore Hospital, on January 12 last if she did not get to see a doctor.
Sergeant James O'Sullivan said the threat was made when Ms Fee was told the staff doctor was not working that day.
When gardai spoke to her afterwards she was calm and she agreed to return home but she later rang the Bannon Centre and spoke to a nurse, threatening to slit her throat.
The accused was then arrested and admitted to both threats when questioned by gardai.
On January 30 an eyewitness reported Ms Fee for smashing the front window of a neighbour's house with a hammer. The owner of the house was not in at the time.
When gardai spoke to her about that incident she admitted it and threatened to go back and break the rest of the windows “as soon as you're gone” and then spat at two guards.
Sergeant O'Sullivan said Ms Fee had a total of 19 previous convictions, including three assaults, for which she received a six-month sentence, suspended on condition she keep the peace for one year.
Called to testify herself by her solicitor, Donal Farrelly, Ms Fee, who had been imprisoned on remand, said she did not want to go back to prison because it was a “frightening place” and she had twice tried to kill herself there.
She also said she had planned a suicide six or seven weeks earlier and she believed she could not cope with prison again.
She made allegations about her neighbour and said she broke his window because she was angry with him.
In relation to the threat to slit the woman's throat, she said she was also angry at that time and had no intention of carrying out the threat.
Ms Fee said she spat at the gardai because she had lost her temper and did not think about what she was doing.
She said she was on a lot of medication and when she was in prison she was not being given the correct tablets.
In a tearful request, she asked Judge Staines not to send her to prison and said she would pay compensation or “do anything” to avoid being sent there.
Her solicitor, Donal Farrelly, said Ms Fee had written letters of apology to all the injured parties in the case and those were handed into the court.
Having reviewed the circumstances of Ms Fee's previous offences, Judge Staines noted that the accused had previously pleaded guilty to assaulting a garda, breaching the peace in Cloncollig, threatening to stab a woman and damaging the property of a neighbour, a man who was “now a victim again”.
In addition, she had admitted assaulting three hospital nurses and a submission made on Ms Fee's behalf by Mr Farrelly at sentencing in December had been taken into account when the suspension order was made.
The judge said Ms Fee clearly was a woman with difficulties but she noted that one of the nurses had recorded in a victim impact statement that although the staff had all done their best to help her she was “highly manipulative”.
The nurse also believed Ms Fee clearly knew what she was doing was wrong.
Judge Staines said she had to protect the public because just over a month after the imposition of the suspended sentence the accused had threatened to kill another nurse, had damaged her neighbour's house again and had assaulted a guard.
Imposing the six-month sentence, she said she should be imposing a consecutive six-month sentence too but was not doing so because of Ms Fee's guilty plea.
She recommended that the defendant receive all necessary medical and psychiatric treatment while in custody.
Recognisances were fixed for an appeal but she made it a condition of Ms Fee's release on appeal that she stay away from both the Bannon Centre and her neighbour's property.
She also asked the gardai to communicate the court's decision to the three nurses who had been assaulted last year.
Subscribe or register today to discover more from DonegalLive.ie
Buy the e-paper of the Donegal Democrat, Donegal People's Press, Donegal Post and Inish Times here for instant access to Donegal's premier news titles.
Keep up with the latest news from Donegal with our daily newsletter featuring the most important stories of the day delivered to your inbox every evening at 5pm.