Hawick woman admits causing third disturbance at hospital casualty unit

The Borders General Hospital at Melrose.
The Borders General Hospital at Melrose.

Background reports have been ordered on a Hawick woman after she admitted causing a third disturbance in the accident-and-emergency department at the Borders General Hospital in Melrose.

Nikitta James, 30, pleaded guilty at Selkirk Sheriff Court to shouting and swearing, making threatening and abusive comments, obstructing others by sitting in the middle of the floor and taking photographs of staff on June 21.

She also admitted struggling violently with two police officers.

The court was told that after James was admitted to the hospital following a suspected overdose at around 4pm, a nurse made herself scarce, having had untoward dealings with her before.

Procurator fiscal Graham Fraser said: “She was put in a cubicle opposite the nurses’ station, but she refused to stay in there and was aggressive to all the staff in a verbal fashion.

“Eventually a doctor persuaded her to return to the cubicle, but she continued shouting and swearing.

“When the member of staff she previously encountered returned to the area, the accused said ‘there is the c***’.

“She took out her mobile phone and took photographs of the nurse who had problems with her before.

“She sat in the middle of the floor getting in the way of everyone else in the department and was shouting and swearing at the nurses.

“The staff were highly concerned and alarmed by her behaviour, and the police were phoned.

“On seeing the police officers arrive, she returned to the cubicle but continued to be aggressive and was shouting and swearing at them as well.

“She was eventually put in handcuffs as she struggled with them.”

James continued to struggle on being taken to a police van and also refused to sign a self-discharge form, instead ripping it up.

Defence lawyer Sophie Russell said her client’s mental health had deteriorated since moving to Galashiels and she now intends to move back to Hawick and stay in the town’s Drumlanrig Square.

She urged the sheriff to impose an alternative to custody, saying: “She appreciates any repeat of this behaviour at Borders General Hospital will result in her losing her liberty.

“She has spent time on remand and does not want to go back.”

Sheriff Peter Paterson deferred sentence until September 24 for reports.

He explained that although James was being granted bail while those reports were being compiled, a prison sentence was still being considered and all options were on the table.

Sheriff Paterson said: “This is a serious matter. It is the third time you have been before the court for offences in the accident-and-emergency department, and that conduct will not be tolerated.”

James has been ordered to sign on at Hawick police station three times a week.