AN ALEXANDRIA alcoholic who spat in the face of a nurse trying to help him at the Vale of Leven Hospital has avoided jail time.

William McAllister’s behaviour was called “disgusting” by his own defence solicitor as he appeared at Dumbarton Sheriff Court for sentencing last week.

He previously pleaded guilty to assaulting a nurse and making a racist remark to a police officer.

The 37-year-old, of Cables Drive, had gone to the hospital on December 21 last year to have a line removed at about 4pm.

He was disruptive and repeatedly shouting and seeking attention from staff, heard the court.

Staff turned to him at 5.30pm and a nurse was removing his line.

Fiscal depute Ian Meacock said: “The accused turned towards her, pulled his head backward and spat at her face, leaving saliva on her chin and jaw.

“Medical staff completed removing the line from his arm and police were called.”

While McAllister was in police custody in Clydebank, he continued being abusive and said to an officer, “you f****** English p****”.

His lawyer, Gail Campbell, was blunt about his behaviour. She said “His conduct was disgusting and completely unacceptable and I would not seek to minimise it.

“He has a very clear difficulty this morning because he will not be walking out the door. I think I can say with certainty he is remorseful of his conduct.”

Ms Campbell said when McAllister is not drinking, he is “extremely talented” working as a mechanic.

She continued: “He admitted himself to hospital – he knew he was not doing well physically. What can be said on his behalf is he has not sat by doing nothing since this incident.

“There are gaps in his offending – it shows he can abstain from alcohol but when he doesn’t, things go drastically wrong.”

Sheriff William Gallacher decided to defer sentence to June 7 to allow more time for McAllister to engage with alcohol services and to determine if he can pay financial compensation.

Sheriff Gallacher said: “Your behaviour was disgusting, disgraceful. You have a record which makes me pause. I may be able to find an alternative to custody.”