THIS is the thug who attacked an innocent nurse while he was being treated in hospital because she would not let him go and get a cup of tea.
Peter Thompson, 31, launched a vicious attack on nurse Beverley White after she tried to persuade him to stay in bed.
She was left in floods of tears after being thumped in the chest, winded and knocked off balance.
She needed to be looked at by medics in the A & E department at the University Hospital of Hartlepool where she had been nursing Thompson.
But amazingly, Thompson, who has a history of violence, walked free from court.
The shocking attack comes as the North Tees and Hartlepool NHS Foundation Trust revealed there have been 38 assaults on staff at Hartlepool’s hospital and at the University Hospital of North Tees, Stockton, since April.
Thompson was given an 18-month community order with a supervision requirement.
But trust bosses have still warned that violence against its staff will not be tolerated.
Geoff Morley, chairman of the bench at Hartlepool Magistrates’ Court, told Thompson, who the court heard has a history of violence, it was a “serious offence” on “somebody who is a healthcare professional”.
He added: “Make no mistake, custody was a very real sentencing option.”
Prosecuting, Alan Davison said the assault happened the day after Thompson was admitted, on July 26, in a “potentially overdosed state, confused and intoxicated” and Ms White was giving him one-to-one care.
Mr Davison added: “While in a single-occupancy room, upon a request of his, he wanted to go downstairs for a cup of tea.
“But she said she was there to make one for him.
“He punched her to the centre of the chest. It winded her and knocked her off balance.”
Mr Davison said Ms White went to the toilet and “had a good cry”, before going to accident and emergency.
She was checked out and given painkillers and was told to take it easy, magistrates were told.
Mr Davison added: “In police interview he had no recollection of what happened due to being under the influence of drugs and he said if he had done anything like that, in his opinion he would have been disgusted.”
Thompson, of Garside Drive, Hartlepool, admitted common assault, and two counts of failing to surrender to custody on July 25 and August 8, as well as possessing an offensive weapon, namely a craft knife, on July 15.
John Relton, mitigating, said Thompson had himself been a victim of violence when he was attacked and “left for dead” on his own doorstep in 2008.
He said this had left him “rather slow and rather forgetful and sometimes unaware of the seriousness of what he is dealing with”.
He added Ms White’s injury “required no treatment” and said: “The most aggravating feature is that it was on a public servant in the course of her employment.
“In terms of dealing with people with neurological problems or drugs issues like my client has, obviously it sometimes goes with the territory.
“That’s not to condone it at all, but staff can be mindful that this can happen.”
Thompson needed brain surgery and spent five months at the University Hospital of North Tees, in Stockton, after he was attacked after returning home to Hopps Street from a night out in 2008.
He told the Mail after the hearing: “It’s disgusting behaviour attacking nurses.
“I’m very sorry, it’s disgraceful because the last place you want to start being aggressive is in hospital.
“I’ve been attacked myself, I’m brain damaged because of it and it affects my behaviour.”
David Gibbon, now 22, and Dylan Corbett, now 18, were each locked up at Teesside Crown Court for four years in August 2009 after admitting grievous bodily harm with intent on Thompson.