Woman with "sad background" jailed after becoming abusive at Rhyl centre which helps homeless


Staff reporter (Rhyl Journal)

POLICE found a folding knife when they arrested a woman who had turned up smelling of alcohol and who become abusive at a centre which helps the homeless.

Bernadette Gardiner, 52, of no fixed address, was jailed for ten months after she admitted being abusive when prohibited by a criminal behaviour order, having the lock knife in public, and damaging a police car by spitting in it.

Judge Rhys Rowlands told her that her previous convictions meant that she faced a minimum six month sentence for possessing the knife.

It was the 11th time that she had breached a criminal behaviour order.

The judge said that the latest breach involved behaving in a drunken, aggressive and abusive manner towards staff at the Dewi Sant Centre in Rhyl.

She was carrying the knife although she did not produce it or threaten anyone with it.

The judge said that sadly it was the latest of a long list of incidents involving anti social behaviour which caused concern among the general public, in Rhyl in particular.

Such behaviour would not be tolerated – she had been abusive to people who were helping her and providing her with food.

“I accept that you have a number of problems in your life.

“You have a sad background and people are trying to help you.

“But you react by spending your money on drink and behaving in a really aggressive way and that had got to stop,” the judge said.

Prosecuting barrister Michael Whitty said that the defendant had been allowed into the homeless project despite smelling of alcohol because she was initially civil.
But she became abusive and aggressive and would leave when told to do so.

She appeared to sleep when police arrived, spat in the police car, and called officers foul names.

A six and a half inch lock knife was found in her pocket.

Defending barrister, Simon Killeen, said his client presented as an extremely sad figure.

She had no family apart from a brother who lived in a controlled environment because of schizophrenia in Denbigh.

The defendant had been homeless for two years, slept in a night shelter and was “rather a sad and pathetic figure who has little in her life.”

On her release she intended to leave Rhyl and move closer to the Denbigh area because one of her problems was that she did not have the money to visit her brother.

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