A MAN who had been taken to hospital after self-harming launched himself out of bed and punched the heart monitor that he was connected to.

Blackburn magistrates heard it was the only machine of its kind in the Accident and Emergency department at Royal Blackburn Hospital at the time.

Deputy District Judge Ian Barnes told Craig Stuart Thorpe he could have denied other patients access to vital equipment.

“It is a serious criminal damage because the equipment belonged to the NHS,” said the judge.

“The NHS is under extreme pressure as it is and this kind of behaviour does not help.”

Thorpe, 46, of Pentland House, Haslingden, pleaded guilty to criminal damage. He was remanded on bail until November 16 for the preparation of a pre-sentence report.

Janice Vallance, prosecuting, said the ambulance was called to a domestic incident where the defendant was said to have been cutting himself. Police also attended and an officer went in the ambulance with Thorpe and remained with him on A&E.

“He was connected to the heart machine and the officer says he suddenly launched himself out of bed and punched the screen,” said Miss Vallance. She said the machine had been valued at £10,000 but its was not clear from the prosecution statements whether it had been damaged beyond repair.

Mark Williams, defending, said his client had little or no recollection of what had happened because of his level of drunkenness.

“He can’t give an explanation for what he did because he can’t remember it,” said Mr Williams.

“It is not clear whether the equipment can be repaired and how much that will cost and perhaps it will be possible to establish that before the next hearing.”