Newspaper for Crossmaglen, South Armagh, Newry and Down.

Suspended jail term for cage fighter who attacked eight police officers

A Newry man, described in court as a “trained cage fighter” has received a suspended prison sentence for assaulting eight police officers in two hospitals on the same day.

Sheagh Dobbin, of Barcroft Park, pleaded guilty to eight counts of assault on police, four counts of criminal damage, two counts of resisting police and two counts of disorderly behaviour when he appeared at Newry Magistrates’ Court on Monday last.

The prosecution outlined that on March 23rd at 1.10am, police were called to the A&E department at Daisy Hill Hospital in Newry regarding a male who was acting suspiciously.  It was claimed Dobbin was refusing to engage with any members of staff.

When police arrived, officers noted the defendant was breathing heavily.  He informed the officers that he had taken cocaine and he was subsequently searched.

During the search, Dobbin refused to take his hands from his pockets and when one officer took hold of his wrist to offer reassurance, he became agitated and aggressive.  The defendant was then restrained against a wall but began shouting and had to be taken to the ground before being handcuffed.

Whilst on the ground Dobbin kicked out, narrowly missing the head of one of the officers.  He then managed to get up and limb restraints had to be used as he attempted to kick other officers.

Dobbin was placed on a bed and taken to an isolation ward for examination after concerns for his health.  However, when in the ward, he continued to be aggressive and refused to let a nurse take a sample of his blood.

Dobbin’s behaviour was described as unpredictable; he also informed officers that he was a trained cage fighter.

Prosecution stated that several officers suffered injuries, with one also having a Fitbit watch scraped and another having their phone damaged.

The defendant was arrested and cautioned, with no reply before being taken to Banbridge Custody Suite.

At 3pm, police decided to take Dobbin to Craigavon Area Hospital amid further concerns regarding his health.

Around 7.20pm, the defendant was escorted to use the bathroom, his handcuffs were removed in order to facilitate this and it was explained to him that these would be reapplied.  He became violent towards two officers, kicking one of them to the right leg before attempting to knee them in the crotch.

During this incident, the defendant collided with a privacy divider of one of the toilets and smashing it.  One of the officer’s watches was also damaged in this incident.

Limb restraints had to applied to Dobbin as he was once more arrested.

Defence barrister Kevin O’Hare told the court: “It is difficult to know where to begin, it is a disgraceful set of facts for the court to hear and one can only imagine the ordeal these police officers went through.  He is a big strong man who has dedicated himself to training.

“This occurred in two different hospitals which is an aggravating feature. I have explained to Mr Dobbin that this court has a zero tolerance to incidents which occur in hospitals.  This occurred when he was living a chaotic lifestyle, initially he did not appreciate how bad this was but he is now shocked to hear the extent of his behaviour.”

Mr O’Hare added: “He has asked that I apologise to all the officers and all those who had the misfortune to encountering Mr Dobbin on the March 23.  He instructs that this period of drug and alcohol abuse is in the past, he is now totally dedicated to training and is looking to attend training camps in Thailand.”

Stating that Dobbins was “due credit” for his guilty plea, District Judge Eamonn King sentenced him to six months in prison, suspended for three years.

In addition, a compensation order of £159.99 was made to the Southern Health and Social Care Trust for the toilet divider and £140 to the officer whose Fitbit was damaged.