Criminal record of more than 100 offences - but woman escapes prison after foul-mouthed rant at doctor's surgery

The case was heard at York Crown Court.
The case was heard at York Crown Court.

A notorious thief with a vast criminal record has avoided jail yet again – this time for “kicking off” at a doctor’s surgery in Whitby.

Elizabeth Hanson - whose past crimes include burgling a vulnerable man three times in the space of a month - was given a 45th birthday surprise on Wednesday when a judge said she need not go to prison for the “miserable” scenes inside a doctor’s waiting room, where she flew into a foul-mouthed rant in front of patients and then turned her ire on police officers who went to arrest her.

Hanson, a prolific shoplifter who was on a suspended prison sentence at the time of the incident on November 2 last year, was said to be out of control and “screaming and shouting” at the Spring Vale Medical Centre where families and children were waiting to see a GP.

Police were called out and when officers arrived, two doctors were trying to pacify Hanson, but she bawled and swore at them too, prosecutor Rob Galley told York Crown Court.

“She continued to scream,” he added. “She was saying, ‘No-one wants to help me!’”

The torrent of four-letter abuse only ended when Hanson was arrested “as a last resort”.

She was convicted of a public-order offence, or using threatening words or behaviour, and appeared for sentence on Wednesday knowing her liberty was on a knife-edge due to the suspended sentence for burgling a man with mental health and alcohol problems at his flat in east Hull in 2017.

That sentence was handed down at Hull Crown Court in July last year after Hanson left the victim feeling “paranoid, frightened and insecure”.

Hanson, of Greenwich Avenue, Hull, burgled the victim’s home three times between October and November 2017, stealing property such as bank cards and £1,100 in cash while he was inside the property.

The grandmother - who had 113 previous offences on her 27-year criminal record, which included numerous shop thefts, as well as battery and fraud - admitted three burglaries but was given an 18-month suspended sentence, with a restraining order and 30-day rehabilitation programme because she had spent seven-and-a-half months on remand.

The judge in that case described her offending as “planned and repetitive” which had been “very distressing” for the victim, who had been “identified as vulnerable” by Hanson. She was warned that if she didn’t sort her life out and stop offending, she would be sent to prison.

But at Wednesday’s hearing in York, she avoided jail yet again despite Judge Simon Hickey describing as “disturbing” the fact that her new offences were in breach of a suspended sentence for targeting a vulnerable man.

He added that Hanson was “lucky” not to have been given a “significant” immediate prison sentence when she appeared at the Hull court last summer.

He described her actions inside the GP surgery as a “miserable way to behave” and that she had again been “very lucky not to be going to prison”.

Instead, Mr Hickey added five more rehabilitation days to Hanson’s existing suspended sentence. He also ordered her to pay a nominal £20 fine and a £30 surcharge for her foul-mouthed outburst.

There was no separate penalty for a further charge of failing to surrender to court custody.

Hanson’s solicitor advocate Stephen Munro had argued that she was ill at the time of the offences and had cirrhosis of the liver.

Hanson sobbed and thanked the judge as she walked free from court.