A man from Lerwick who struggled so violently with police officers that they had to put on riot gear to enter his cell was given an 18-month prison sentence when he appeared at the town’s sheriff court yesterday.
Appearing from custody, Craig Nelson, whose address was given as Grampian Prison, pleaded guilty to a charge of assaulting a police constable by spitting and attempting to bite him in the knowledge that he had hepatitis C.
Nelson, 39. also pleaded guilty to behaving in a threatening or abusive manner, obscuring the lens of a CCTV camera, urinating on a cell floor, and repeatedly struggling with police officers, aggravated by racial prejudice.
The court heard that between four and six police officers were required to deal with Nelson’s behaviour during a four hour period after he had been arrested shortly after midnight on October 25.
Police received reports that Nelson was shouting and banging on doors in the Ladies Drive area in Lerwick. He was intoxicated and unsteady on his legs, while he had foam coming from his mouth.
Following an initial search, officers tried take him to hospital – but his aggressive behaviour meant he was arrested and taken to the police station.
Procurator fiscal Duncan Mackenzie said Nelson’s behaviour was so aggressive that they had no choice but to restrain him and then carry him into the police station. A doctor was then the subject of racial abuse.
The fiscal said that at one stage officers were using riot shields and protective closing when entering Nelson’s cell.
Defence solicitor Tommy Allan said his client claimed to have drunk one and a half litres of vodka and had no recollection of the incident and said that most of Nelson’s adult life had been a struggle for him.
He confirmed that following treatment during his last term of imprisonment, his client was now free of the Hepatitis C virus, although that could not be said with certainty with regard to the time of the incident.
Sheriff Ian Cruickshank sentenced Nelson to 16 months in prison for the assault charge plus further 18 months for the second charge which carried on over an extended period, to run concurrently.