Man jailed for threatening Scarborough Hospital staff in five-hour ordeal

Karl Cairns
Karl Cairns

A man who threatened hospital staff with hepatitis-infected blood has been jailed for over two years after a judge branded his terrifying behaviour “outrageous”.

Karl Cairns, 29, was taken into Scarborough Hospital with knife wounds but ripped his bandages off and threw them around an A&E room which he splattered with infected blood, York Crown Court heard.

He threatened to throw hepatitis-infected blood over hospital staff who had to delay treating other patients to deal with Cairns, said prosecutor Jo Shepherd.

She said an ambulance was called to a property in Scarborough where he had suffered a cut to his hand. In the ambulance Cairns, who has hepatitis, removed his bandages to expose his wound and blood stained the inside of the emergency vehicle, which had to be taken off the road and cleaned.

Arriving at hospital, Cairns, who was drunk, flew into a rage and had to be taken into a separate room away from other patients in the busy department.

He was allocated a nurse but when she entered the room, Cairns said: “I’m going to put blood everywhere, all over the nurses and doctors.”

He then removed his bandages and strated throwing them around. The frightened nurse told Cairns he was putting her and others at risk of infection.

“He seemed to calm down for a short while, then he lit up a cigarette and when (the named nurse) told him to stop, he very arrogantly replied: ‘I’ll do whatever I want,’” said the barrister.

Police were called out and security guards called into the room, but he took his bandages off again, throwing them around the room.

Hospital staff again pleaded with him to stop but he replied: “I don’t care; it’s not my fault.”

The incident lasted five hours and only ended when police arrested Cairns at 4.30am.

The room had to deep cleaned because of the blood stains and was out of commission “for some time”. The clean-up operation cost the NHS over £600.

Cairns claimed to police that his then girlfriend had tried to stab him “and almost sliced his finger off”, added Ms Shepherd.

Cairns, of East Sandgate, admitted affray and criminal damage on October 6 last year. He appeared for sentence via video link on Wednesday April 11.

The court heard that Cairns had a long list of previous convictions, mainly drunken violence and public disorder, including two previous incidents at Scarborough Hospital in which he attacked staff and threatened to stab them.

Cairns was on prison licence when he terrorised staff at Scarborough Hospital last October.

James Fenny, for Cairns, said his client was “upset and emotional” when he turned up at hospital.

But Judge Paul Batty QC told Cairns: “This was an outrageous incident. You were threatening to infect hospital staff with hepatitis… and quite deliberately bloodying the hospital and ambulance.

“This is about as bad a case - in fact the worst case - of affray that one can envisage. If ever there was a case for the imposition of the maximum sentence that the law permits, this is it. It must have been terrifying for the staff involved.”

Jailing Cairns for two years and five months, Mr Batty told him: ““The reality is that you think - as you told the nurse - you’ll do whatever you want. You are wrong about that.”