A WOMAN spat at two police officers who were trying to help her after she had tied a suicide suit around her neck in the cells.

Blackburn magistrates heard Rebecca Stephenson had "numerous" previous convictions for assaulting emergency workers.

But a deputy district judge said she had decided against an immediate prison sentence because she had heard about the "first glimmer of positivity" in the defendant's life for a long time.

Stephenson, 22, of Cross Street, Clayton-le-Moors, pleaded guilty to being drunk and disorderly and two charges of assaulting an emergency worker. She was sentenced to 24 weeks in prison suspended for 12 months with six months drug rehabilitation requirement and 20 days rehabilitation activity requirement.

Passing sentence Deputy District Judge Jayne Bryan said she was satisfied the custody threshold had been passed.

"The only question I have got to consider is whether to give you a chance," she said. "You have the offer of a furnished flat and the support of multiple agencies and I am heartened to hear you have been keeping appointments with the probation service.

"I take the view there is a reasonable prospect of rehabilitation because of the measures that are now in place but have never been in place before and I am going to give you the opportunity to comply," she added.

Shazir Azlam, prosecuting, said the police initially dealt with Stephenson and a friend on Whalley Road. Both women were intoxicated and the police took them to the friend's house.

Half an hour later they were called back to the same house and found Stephenson outside, shouting and swearing. She refused to calm down and was arrested for being drunk and disorderly.

At the police station she made comments about self-harming and the officers had to intervene after she tied the suicide suit around her neck.

"She spat at the officers and spit hit one on the forehead and the other on the leg," said Ms Azlam.

Peter King, defending, said his client was addicted to butane gas which did not help her underlying mental health problems. He said his client had led a troubled life and accommodation had always been an issue.

"Recently, through an organisation called Bedspace, she has been found a furnished flat," said Mr King.

"That was confirmed yesterday and I am told that if she retains her liberty someone will pick her up from court and take her to that flat today. The organisation will also provide her with a minimum of five hours support a day."

Mr King said his client was willing to co-operate fully with all the agencies who were trying to help her.

"This may be the kind of support that will save her from an early demise," said Mr King.

"She is not physically well and her mental health makes coping difficult."