Woman guilty of racial abuse

News from the courts

News from the courts

A 25-year-old Douglas woman has been handed a suspended sentence after racially abusing hospital staff.

Keely Watterson (aka Thompson), of Stanley View, pleaded guilty to a charge of provoking behaviour and was sentenced to 13 weeks’ custody, suspended for two years.

She was also made the subject of a Suspended Sentence Supervision Order for two years and ordered to pay £125 prosecution costs.

The court heard how, on September 13, police were called to Grianagh Court, the mental health facility in the grounds of Noble’s Hospital.

It was reported that Watterson had ‘kicked off’ after not being allowed to go outside for a cigarette.

She was said to have then entered the staff kitchen and start making herself a cup of coffee.

When staff tried to stop her she swore at them, calling one of them a racist name, and spilling a cup of hot water during the altercation.

Police were called and she was arrested and handed in a prepared statement via her advocate, denying the racial abuse and trying to throw water over a member of staff.

Defending Watterson in court, advocate Dawn Jones said: ‘You will be aware of the social enquiry report in which the probation officer says of my client she was in a worse state than he had ever seen her.

‘Ms Watterson has a lengthy history of many difficulties. It is a strong mitigating factor that she was clearly very ill at the time of the incident. On the other hand we say as a society people doing difficult jobs have to be protected.

‘The racial element of it is clearly the aggravating factor. We do want to stress very much that she was not well.

‘She is vulnerable. It is all explained in the social enquiry report which I won’t go into in open court.

‘She does try, very hard, but has relapses. There was a relapse in relation to her drug programme.’

Mrs Jones went on to say that in 2014 that Watterson was sentenced to a 34-week suspended sentence. She was then jailed in February 2015 for five weeks but the 34-week suspended sentence was not activated.

‘That seems to have been the catalyst for what has been a significant period for her of stability,’ said Mrs Jones.

‘She has got a lot on her plate but is engaging with the Drug and Alcohol Team.’

Deputy High Bailiff Jayne Hughes said of Watterson’s racial abuse: ‘You abused her in a most awful way.’

As she was leaving court Watterson said: ‘Can I just say I am not racist. I was ill.’

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