A DRUG user who punched an elderly patient as he ‘ran amok’ in an East Lancashire hospital has been sentenced to 18 months in prison.

On July 25, Samuel Edward Hayes, of no fixed address, punched a 79-year-old lady who was about to have her leg amputated at Royal Blackburn Hospital.

Hayes, who was suffering from drug-induced psychosis at the time, also caused more than £12,000 of damage to Ward D3 and people's property at the hospital.

Presiding over the case, Judge Mark Brown said the fact the defendant was suffering from a drug-induced psychosis could not justify his actions, which were completely unacceptable and appalling.

He said: “There can be no doubt that on this occasion you ran amok at Blackburn Hospital.

“The police had taken you there because they were concerned for your welfare.

"You were admitted onto a ward and you seemed to have calmed down, however your attitude changed and you became violent and threatening.

“You ran amok and smashed valuable equipment, pushing things about, endeavouring to trash the place.

“You posed a threat to hospital staff and patients and you physically punched, for no reason at all, a 79-year-old lady who was waiting to get her leg amputated.”

The court heard how Hayes, 28, had served many prison sentences and had also been subject to community orders for different offences.

In June this year, he was jailed for eight weeks after he pleaded guilty to three charges of shoplifting to fund his addiction to spice.

At the time, Hayes, of Bolton Road, Abbey Village, was also ordered to pay £64 compensation to Morrisons and £35 to Asda and a £115 victim surcharge for stealing bottles of whiskey from both supermarkets.

In mitigation, defence lawyer Mark Friend said Hayes was ashamed of his appalling behaviour, and asked the judge to apply leniency in recognition that the defendant had started to adjust his lifestyle and wanted to live a life free from drugs.

He said: “Mr Hayes recognises that he is an adult and must be trusted to behave like one but I ask you to impose the least possible sentence.”

In summing up, Mr Brown said a very serious view must be taken with this case and the only option was to impose a prison sentence.

Hayes was sentenced to 15 months' imprisonment for one count of affray; two months' imprisonment for two counts of criminal damage, and four months for a third count of criminal damage, to run concurrently.

He was also sentenced to three months for assaulting Ann Thompson while she was waiting for her operation, resulting in a total sentence of 18 months in prison.