Three months jail sentence for Antrim town woman (57) who spat in police officer's face

Three months jail sentence for Antrim town woman (57) who spat in police officer's face

A 57-year-old County Antrim woman with 43 previous convictions who spat in a police officer's face has been given a three months prison sentence.

Heather Elizabeth McKeown, of Meadowlands in Antrim town, was sentenced for assault and causing criminal damage to a police vehicle in connection with February 22 this year.

Antrim Magistrates Court, sitting in Ballymena, heard police received a call at 6.50pm to attend an address in Antrim.

Police located the intoxicated defendant in the street and she was shouting and "screaming hysterically".

In the rear of a police vehicle she "thumped" an officer several times on his arm with her fist; she nipped him and "clawed at his face and neck".

She ripped a storage department cover off its hinges and whilst outside custody she spat in an officer's face.

A defence lawyer accepted it was a "nasty, unpleasant, mean, offence" which happened "during Covid".

He said the defendant was a"binge drinking alcoholic" and on the date in question was "out of control".

The barrister said McKeown is "totally apologetic and ashamed in the sober light of day".

He said the defendant's record started 12 years ago, Court News NI can report.

District Judge Nigel Broderick said: "Lots of people suffer with addictions to alcohol but they don't all fight with police and spit in their face".

He said it had been "despicable" offending and spitting in an officer's face was "nasty".

Jailing McKeown, the judge said she previously had fines and suspended sentences and the court had given her chances which she had not taken.

He told the defendant: "You don't just seem to be able to behave yourself."

Bail in the sum of £500 was fixed for appeal.