Alcoholic Tranmere woman attacked nurses with a 'flamethrower'A WOMAN patient charged at two nurses with a home-made "flame-thrower" in Wirral's Arrowe Park Hospital.
Liverpool Crown Court was told that Cara Mearns was "out of her mind" when she tried to burn the faces of staff at Arrowe Park Hospital by igniting gas from an aerosol can.
Sentencing her, Judge Robert Warnock said that her actions "were despicable".
"The circumstances are distressing," he said.
"While receiving treatment at Arrowe Park hospital you threatened two nurses in what can be properly described as a sustained and dangerous attack.
"You should know nurses and other public servants have a particular place in these courts.
"They have that particular place because they deserve protection.
They have protection because they are commendable."
Joanne Maxwell, prosecuting, told the court 39-year-old Mearns was in hospital because of alcohol addiction and she had been abusive and aggressive throughout her treatment.
In the early hours of April 11 last year nurse Emma Lucas discovered Mearns out of bed.
When she asked her to return to bed, Mearns sprayed a deodorant towards her face and ignited it with a cigarette lighter, causing Ms Lucas to run away.
"Mrs Mearns followed her and again ignited the aerosol towards the nurse's face from a closer distance, some two to three feet away.
"Emma Lucas quickly pulled back, but she could feel the heat from the gas that had ignited in the effect of a flame thrower.
"She thought she had burnt her face."
Another nurse, Patricia Griffiths, was alerted by her colleague's screams and went to investigate.
She was also "charged at" by Mearns who shouted: "You don't know what I'm going to do with you" and tried to hit her.
Mearns, of Beech Court, Tranmere, again tried to burn the nurse's face with the lighted gas.
Miss Maxwell told how both nurses were very distressed by the incident with Ms Lucas taking time off work and needing counselling.
John Weate, defending, told how alcoholic Mearns, who admitted affray, had no recollection of her attack, but was "genuinely disgusted" when she was told about her behaviour.
"She couldn't understand why she had acted in such a reprehensible way towards the nursing staff," he said.
Mr Weate told how Mearns, who has significant health problems and walks with a stick, recognised the need to protect nurses and wished to apologise to both women.
Judge Warnock agreed "with some reluctance" to suspend a 50-week prison sentence for two years with supervision.
He ordered Mearns to attend an alcohol treatment programme, but warned her "to be in no doubt" he would send her to prison if she breached his order. THE GLOBE