Bishop Auckland woman who spat at a bus driver avoids prison

A WOMAN who refused to stop shouting and swearing outside of a police station has been spared jail, despite breaching a suspended prison sentence order.

Karen Eldrett avoided custody in April this year after she spat at an Arriva bus driver during the height of the national pandemic.

However, she left court with a suspended prison sentence, meaning if she reoffended she would be sent to prison.

But after appearing at Newton Aycliffe Magistrates’ Court this week for a further offence, the 55-year-old was again spared custody and instead handed a conditional discharge.

John Garside, prosecuting, said: “At around 7pm a member of the public reported that a couple were having an argument outside of the police station in Durham city.

“The defendant was described as intoxicated and irate and she was heard shouting ‘he is a cheating c**t’ towards her partner.

“Police arrived and asked her to step away, to which the defendant replied ‘what the f*** have I done?’

“She was asked to stop shouting and swearing but she continued to do so in front of members of the public and she was subsequently arrested.”

The court heard that Eldrett was sentenced to ten weeks in prison suspended for 12 months in April for spitting at an Arriva bus driver whilst intoxicated.

Eldrett, of Johnson Street, Eldon Lane, near Bishop Auckland, pleaded guilty to using threatening and abusive words and behaviour likely to cause harassment, alarm or distress and committing a further offence whilst subject to a suspended sentence order.

Warren Ridley, mitigating, said: “If you look at her record you will see that it is only really the last five or so years that this lady has bothered the court on a regular basis.

“Up until that point she was with her husband, but he sadly died five years ago and she turned to drink as a crutch.

“Her son died 19 years ago and she tells me she never got over that, and sadly she lost her other son tragically in May this year.

“She also lost her son-in-law after he was hit by a car recently, so she has had a massive amount of grief to deal with.

“Since this offence in July, which was not long after her son’s death, she has stayed out of trouble and there have been no incidents since then.”

Chair of the bench, Colin Clark, said: “We understand that you have been through the mill but this is still an offence.”

Eldrett was given a conditional discharge for 12 months for using threatening words to cause alarm and distress.

For breaching a suspended sentence order, the original suspended sentence of 12 months was extended by three months.

The Northern Echo | Durham