Suffolk: Woman admits racist tirade at Ipswich Hospital’s A&E department

Elizabeth Ward-Buck left the Ipswich Magistrates Court on Wednesday, 20 February after pleading guil

Elizabeth Ward-Buck left the Ipswich Magistrates Court on Wednesday, 20 February after pleading guilty and receiving a suspended sentence after an incident at the Ipswich Hospital. - Credit: Archant

A woman who assaulted a policeman, nurse and patient at Ipswich Hospital as she launched an hour-long racist tirade in the A&E department has apologised for her actions, a court has heard.

Elizabeth Ward-Buck, of Eastward Ho in Leiston, was handed a suspended prison sentence after pleading guilty to two counts of racially aggravated common assault and assaulting a police officer.

South East Suffolk Magistrates’ Court heard the 51-year-old was in a waiting area at the Heath Road trust on February 2 when she confronted two patients, yelling racist comments which were filmed on one of the victim’s mobile phones and uploaded to YouTube - warning video contains strong language.

Ward-Buck asked the nationality of one patient, then shouting “go back to your country” and “you’re not entitled (to hospital treatment) because you’re all foreigners”.

Alerted by the noise, staff nurse Marian Tolosa, went to see what was happening but was confronted by Ward-Buck.

She pushed the nurse before assaulting patient, Elif Suleyman.

Prosecutor Lesla Small said: “There was an ongoing commotion, police were called to attend. Witnesses heard some of the comments by Mrs Ward-Buck, she continued to shout and be abusive. She shouted at the officer.”

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An hour into the rant Ward-Buck, who sobbed in the dock, continued to be abusive in a side room and “swung a leg” at the officer, Pc Neil Partridge.

Earlier that day the 51-year-old had been drinking alcohol and had considered walking into the sea in Aldeburgh. A friend called an ambulance and Ward-Buck was taken to Ipswich Hospital.

Mitigating Michael Stephenson said: “It was a very unfortunate and distressing night from everyone’s point of view. Mrs Ward-Buck is a good woman, she has no criminal convictions. I have a clutch of character references that have spoken of her in glowing terms.”

He said his client suffered a “breakdown” on the day. He added: “She was very upset, a build up of pressure, stress, a death in the family, the demands of a teenage family, her work as a carer and the needs of her husband.

“Friends had become concerned about her heath and well being. She felt terrible, she did not feel well.”

Sentencing District Judge Celia Dawson praised Ward-Buck for her work caring for the elderly.

She said: “[The episode] went on for quite a period of time. The nurse and police officer had come to diffuse the situation. They are entitled to go about their jobs without facing this level of abuse.”

Ward-Buck was sentenced to three months in prison which was suspended for a year. She was subjected to a curfew from 9pm to 6am.

She was ordered to pay £100 compensation to the nurse and patient as well as £85 costs and £80 to the victim’s fund.

Victim, UCS film student Gina Thompson said she holds no grudges.

The 23-year-old of Grimwade Street, said she was “so shocked” when Ward-Buck launched into her tirade.

She told The Star: “I had taken my friend to hospital because she had broken her ankle.

“It was such a shock, an utter shock. Nothing like that has ever happened to me before.

“I didn’t know what to do other than laugh. I am a film student so it came naturally to me to pick up my camera.”

She added: “I thought the verdict was very fair.

“She held her hands up and she was very apologetic.

“I just wish her well, I don’t hold any grudges.”

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