Drunk who spat at paramedic in Lanark is jailed

Lanark Sheriff Court
Lanark Sheriff Court

A female paramedic was spat at by a drunk in a Lanark street while attempting to help him.

Russell Fowler, 47, of Ayr Road, Glespin, was jailed at Lanark Sheriff Court last Thursday after being told that assaults on members of the emergency services would not be tolerated.

The court heard that, on the night of June 20, the Scottish Ambulance Service received a call that there was a man lying, apparently unconscious, in Lanark’s Ladyacre Road.

An ambulance was despatched to the scene with a crew including female paramedic Nicola Love.

On reaching the scene, the crew saw Fowler sitting on a car bonnet with a female apparently trying to help him stand up.

Ms Love got out of the ambulance and approached Fowler, prompting him to start shouting and swearing at her, saying he didn’t need her help.

She, however, continued to try to go to his assistance, but as she drew near, he tried to spit in her face.

She managed to turn her head away quickly enough to avoid being hit in the face, but his spit landed in her hair.

He then grabbed her ponytail and tried to drag her to the ground.

She immediately activated the panic button ambulance crews have on their body radios to summon the police if they are under attack.

The paramedic and the woman seen with Fowler managed to restrain him until police officers arrived a few minutes later and arrested him.

Officers found that Fowler was so intoxicated that he had to be left to sober up before being charged later.

The solicitor acting for Fowler, Archie Hill, told Sheriff Scott Pattison that his client had originally pleaded guilty by letter to the charge of having obstructed, verbally abused and assaulted a member of the emergency services but had later realised that such a charge warranted a personal appearance in court.

He admitted that Fowler had a criminal record and, indeed, had another, separate matter pending against him at Dumfries Sheriff Court.

He said that Fowler had a similar conviction dating back to 2002, but it had not involved a member of the emergency services.

Mr Hill went on: “He is now most remorseful for his actions. He has no recollection of actually committing the offence. He remembers buying and consuming a whole bottle of whisky and then nothing more.” The solicitor said that Fowler had a troubled past, and he had split from his partner and ended up living in a tent for a while.

He said his client was currently awaiting an NHS referral for a mental condition.

“He realises this is a serious matter,” added Mr Hill, appealing to Sheriff Pattison to find an alternative to sending his client to jail, Fowler’s last custodial sentence having been in 1991.

However, Sheriff Pattison quickly made it clear that Fowler was going behind bars, telling him: “I know that you are now ashamed of what you did, and you are right to be.

“There are some offences that are so serious there is no alternative to custody.

“The duty of the court is to punish you and deter others from doing this. You spat on a paramendic and assaulted her. You cannot do that.”

He jailed Fowler for six months.