Strathfoyle man teargassed after medic assaults to learn fate later

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A Strathfoyle man who assaulted two paramedics has had his sentencing adjourned so he can be with his seriously ill mother.

Barry Gordon Whittle, of Clonmeen Drive, Strathfoyle, pleaded guilty to common assault and assaulting police in August last year.

The 34-year-old also admitted assaulting police in a separate incident on February 21.

The Londonderry Magistrates’ Court was told that paramedics had attended an address because Whittle was having an epileptic seizure.

Upon their arrival the defendant grabbed one of the paramedics by the arm, tackled him to the ground and attempted to head butt him.

Whittle also attempted to assault the second paramedic.

Police were called to assist and when they went into the house Whittle appeared to be unconscious.

However, he started to kick out at the officers and continued to struggle until CS spray was used.

Whittle shouted threats at police whilst in custody and kicked an officer on the leg.

In relation to the February incident Londonderry Magistrates’ Court heard Whittle called police to the Rockmills complex because he was with a suicidal man who had a glass to his throat.

He was then arrested for breach of bail and became aggressive.

Londonderry Magistrates’ Court was told that Whittle had to be carried to a police cell and struggled violently with officers of the Police Service of Northern Ireland (PSNI).

He had to be supervised throughout his stay in custody and was aggressive for several hours.

Whittle threw his head against the custody hatch and he assaulted officers.

Whittle also grabbed an officer’s sleeve and bit down on it.

He also attempted to bite the officer’s hand and attempted to bite a second officer’s ankle.

Defence counsel Eoghan Devlin said that Whittle was a man with a number of difficulties.

He said that the 34-year-old had always struggled to manage his epilepsy and the assaults on the paramedics occurred in this context.

However, Deputy District Judge Chris Holmes said this did not excuse Whittle’s later behaviour to the police officers.

The judge agreed to adjourn sentencing for six months to allow the defendant the opportunity to look after his mother, who is seriously ill.

Deputy District Judge Holmes warned Whittle to behave himself and also to stay off alcohol as all the bail conditions will remain in place.

The judge added: ‘If he goes out and re-offends it will be his own look out’.

Whittle will appear at Londonderry Magistrates’ Court again on April 1.