The Shields Gazette
01 June 2009
By Lisa Nightingale
A MENTALLY-ill man who lashed out at a court security guard has been jailed.
Jason Fife Middleton took a swing at the guard after being confronted at South Tyneside Magistrates’ Court on May 20.
The 38-year-old had taken refuge at the building in Millbank, South Shields, saying he felt threatened by two men as he passed the nearby B&Q store.
But when asked to empty his pockets as he walked through the court’s security gate, he ignored the guard and headed straight into the cafe area.
The court heard he took a swing at the security guard, which missed, after taking exception to his manner.
Middleton arrived at court carrying a bag full of medication, to face a charge of assault, failing to comply with a community order and suspended sentence.
But before magistrates could hear his case, he began to verbally abuse court staff and was asked to leave the room.
Police were called while a break was taken to allow Middleton, of Beach Road, South Shields, to calm down.
Middleton was asked back to court, where he apologised to Judge Roger Elsy for his behaviour.
Graeme Cook, defending, said: “Fortunately, the punch missed the security guard and Mr Middleton is very sorry.”
The court heard Middleton suffers epilepsy, depression, anxiety and also self harms.
Middleton said: “A lot of what happens is not my fault. If you want me to go prison I will, but all that is going to do is make me lose my flat. I will be 10 times worse off, and will just re-offend again.”
Judge Elsy said: “I have looked at sentencing in the community, but that’s the problem, you have been given a chance with the suspended sentence and the community order, but you have breached that and re-offended again.
“It is so serious that only a custodial sentence is possible.”
Middleton was jailed for eight weeks for the assault and 16 weeks for breaching his suspended sentence, with the sentences to run concurrently.
As he was handcuffed and taken to the cells, he thanked the judge, adding: “That’s no problem, I have my tablets and medication. Thank you.”