AN ALEXANDRIA man who tried to spit on a police officer after being arrested in the grounds of the Vale of Leven Hospital has been told he’s on his last chance to avoid prison.

John Gordon appeared at Dumbarton Sheriff Court on Friday for sentencing on charges of threatening or abusive behaviour and assault arising from an incident which took place on July 1.

The 58-year-old’s lawyer said drink lay at the heart of her client’s bad behaviour on the day in question – and admitted that alcohol had “blighted his life and the life of his family”.

Fiscal depute Emma Thomson told the court that two police officers had had cause to put Gordon under arrest in the car park at the hospital at 8.30pm on the night in question – and that while he was calm at first, he lost his temper as he was being transported from the hospital to Clydebank police station to be processed.

Ms Thomson said: “He began to spit in the rear of the police vehicle. He was asked to stop; however, he stated aggressively ‘I’ll spit on you’.”

Gordon continued with his abusive behaviour throughout the journey; Ms Thomson told the court he had said “I can spit where the f*** I want”, “I know people that will have you f*****g killed”, “you two don’t know who you’re dealing with”; “I’ll find out where you live and f*****g kill you”, and “I’ll remember your faces”.

Ms Thomson continued: “The accused tried to spit on one police witness and a spit hood was applied.

“At some point he attempted to kick the same police witness to the thigh area and made contact. He was restrained thereafter and held in custody, but was not cautioned and charged due to his extremely intoxicated state.”

Sheriff William Gallacher observed: “His exhortation to police was that they didn’t know who they were dealing with.

“But I know exactly who I’m dealing with, and I rather suspect my patience may have run out; today may be the day when everything comes home to roost.”

However, Gordon’s solicitor, Judith Reid, said her client had never previously been assessed for a place on the Turnaround project, a residential rehabilitation facility in Renfrewshire, despite his long-term alcohol difficulties, and asked for an assessment with a view to a last chance for him to stay out of jail.

Ms Reid said: “It’s a sad situation. Alcohol has got the better of him; his alcohol problem is such that he’s always going to struggle with it.

“I accept we are at the end of the road. But perhaps Turnaround is that one remaining alternative to custody.”

Sheriff Gallacher agreed to defer sentence until mid-September for the assessment to be carried out and for Gordon to comply with an existing community payback order which he is currently serving for a separate offence.

And the sheriff warned: “If this doesn’t work, or you don’t comply, or you further offend, I’ll send you to prison for six months.

“I’ve seen you repeatedly and you cannot behave like this.

“The community ought not to be on the receiving end, and the police ought not to be on the receiving end, of behaviour which makes you a complete liability."