A sheriff locked up a lout who spat at accident and emergency staff who were trying to help him.
Ian Clark is facing a jail sentence after the booze-fuelled rampage at Ninewells Hospital on March 22 – the day before the lockdown was imposed by Prime Minister Boris Johnson.
The 61-year-old incurred the wrath of a Dundee sheriff who blasted his “appalling” conduct.
Sheriff Tom Hughes warned that anyone who targeted NHS staff were likely to face a stint in prison.
The city’s sheriff court heard that Clark had been taken to A&E by ambulance after being found drunk in the street with a head injury at around 12.30pm on the day in question.
However, Clark was uncooperative with staff before becoming verbally abusive.
He was placed into a bay in isolation but Clark turned violent after was clocked trying to light a cigarette.
Fiscal depute John Richardson said: “He is seen to stand up from his chair and produces a cigarette and was intending to light it.
“This caused a certain amount of alarm given the containers and oxygen tanks. A consultant intervenes to take the cigarette off the accused but the accused’s reaction is to kick him on the right leg and spit at him.
“The charge nurse becomes involved and also tries to reason with the accused but says to the nurse he doesn’t care and spits in her direction.”
>> Keep up to date with the latest news with Evening Telegraph newsletter
Police later arrested Clark, who had been restrained by staff. In response to being cautioned and charged, he replied: “Not guilty.”
Clark, of Mauchline Terrace, appeared personally to plead guilty to assaulting consultant Barry Klaassen by kicking him on the body and spitting towards him.
He also admitted assaulting charge nurse Jennifer Bailie by attempting to spit on her.
Immediately following Mr Richardson’s narration, Sheriff Hughes said: “My main concern is whether or not I remand him. This is absolutely appalling.”
Defence solicitor Ross Bennett said Clark had drank half a bottle of whisky after being out with a friend.
He added that Clark had gone to A&E the following day to apologise to staff.
Mr Bennett said: “He has had mental health difficulties. He has very little recollection. He doesn’t have a drink problem but was having issues at that time about the situation with his care.
“This is not someone who has little or scant regard for public services.
“Your lordship may raise a cynical eye about him apologising but I think it’s the measure of the man by going up there and apologising.”
Before deferring sentence, Sheriff Hughes said: “It’s well known that the public have enormous respect for NHS workers and people who are actively trying to help society stay safe.
“Those working in A&E are at the front line and have a very difficult job to do. The last thing they need is somebody coming in and causing disruption mainly because they have been taking drink.
“I can’t sentence you today to a custodial sentence but it’s very hard to see how you will ever avoid a custodial sentence.”
Clark was remanded until July for the preparation of social work reports. While being led away by a prison escort, Clark said: “I am the most compassionate man in the world.”