A PATIENT who attacked nurses in hospital at the peak of the Covid-19 pandemic has been jailed for 18 months.

Michael Smith, prosecuting, said Brian Waudby, 56, swung at the first nurse when she went to try and help him get to his feet, said Michael Smith, prosecuting.

Shortly afterwards, he grabbed her by the shoulders and pushed her towards a wall. A curtain stopped her hitting it and she fell into a cubicle.

He took a swing at another nurse as staff tried to escort him out of Accident and Emergency in York Hospital.

The department was busy at the time with other patients including a mother with children.

“You behaved appallingly to nurses, doctors and ancillary staff who were literally risking their lives,” the Recorder of York, Judge Sean Morris, told him.

“It must have been terrifying for them.”.

The assaults happened on April 11 during the national peak of the coronavirus pandemic.

Waudby, of no fixed address, pleaded guilty to two charges of assaulting emergency workers and two of criminal damage to a police cell after his arrest by smearing his excrement on it.

He has 237 previous convictions starting in the 1970s and including several for violence including two for causing grievous bodily harm in the 1990s.

He was jailed for 18 months at York Crown Court.

“I shudder to think in your career of crime how much money the country has spent on you, having to get you arrested, having to get you prosecuted. It probably runs into six figures,” the judge said.

Waudby, who attended court via a prison video link, reacted so angrily to the sentence the court muted him.

For him, Neal Kutte said Waudby had been living on the streets at the time.

He had been busking in the city centre to try and get some money when he was offered some tablets.

“He took them,” said the solicitor advocate. “What was in the tablets no-one knows. It has had some effect on him.”

Waudby had drug addictions for many years that had had led to him being in hospital and surgeries many times where he had behaved himself.

“His behaviour (in April in the hospital) had been out of character for him now,” said the solicitor advocate.

On his release from prison, Waudby will still be homeless and planned to return to York, he said.

Mr Smith said police took Waudby to the hospital on April 11 for treatment.

He was aggressive while he was being treated.

When he was about to be discharged the first nurse went to help him stand up.

After he swung at her but didn’t make contact, she and other staff stopped him going into a different part of the hospital.

She asked him to follow her to the exit and he grabbed her shoulders.