ON SCENE: Plenty of work for emergency services today.
ON SCENE: Plenty of work for emergency services today. Max Fleet

Drunk mum spits inside police van

A WOMAN who lashed out at police and spat inside a police van while obscenely drunk has been ordered to do community service.

Rita Marie Purcell, 33, pleaded guilty to charges of failing to provide a breath test, assaulting a police officer and obstructing police in relation to an incident at North Ipswich on August 7.

The court heard the young North Ipswich mum had been involved in a heated argument with her partner before getting behind the wheel about 8pm.

Purcell's manner of driving was such that she was singled out by crew on-board the Polair chopper, which was hovering over the city at the time.

Police arrived to see Purcell behind the wheel of a car that was parked up against a street sign.

Prosecutor Senior Constable Courtney Boss said Purcell smelt strongly of liquor and was so drunk she couldn't stand up.

Such was Purcell's appearance that police called for an ambulance as a precaution, the court heard.

Snr Const Boss said Purcell was abusive towards paramedics that came to check on her well-being, then turned her attention towards the police.

The defendant kicked and head-butted the police vehicle before lashing out at one of the officers, making contact with a senior constable's stomach.

"She was placed in a police van where she began to spit all through the pod," Snr Const Boss said. "She continually kicked the van door."

Purcell later refused to provide a specimen of breath for police.

Defence lawyer Bill Leather said Purcell had a modest traffic history, which unfortunately featured a previous high-level drink driving offence fewer than five years ago.

Mr Leather said his client was likely to lose her job as a result of her behaviour.

Magistrate Andy Cridland said that while he accepted Purcell didn't usually behave in such a way, her actions on this occasion were "disgusting".

"The expression 'out of your tree' would apply in your case," Mr Cridland said.

Purcell was placed on 18 months probation and ordered to complete 80 hours of community service.

Her licence was disqualified for 12 months.

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