A “GRUMPY pensioner” left a nurse needing eight stitches in her lip after punching her on a hospital ward.

Alan Milner, 80, punched the ward sister in the face when she refused to discharge him from Poole Hospital.

He then maintained a “cock and bull story” in which he accused the nurse of grabbing him first.

The defendant, of Hannington Road in Bournemouth, appeared at Bournemouth Crown Court on Wednesday, April 3.

The court heard how Milner had been submitted to Poole Hospital for a number of health reasons, but decided he wanted to leave after feeling he had received “inadequate treatment”.

He asked reception staff to call him a taxi, but was halted by a ward sister who raised concerns over his health, explained prosecutor Joseph Barlow.

She noted Milner had a catheter fitted, and said that if he was to be discharged, it would need to be dealt with by doctors.

Milner made for the exit despite the nurse’s concerns, but was followed by her and asked to remain on site.

He repeatedly told the nurse he wanted to leave, before “lifting his arm and punching her in the lip with a clenched fist”.

The nurse “screamed” and held her hand under her mouth to catch the “pooling blood”, Mr Barlow said.

In a victim statement, she said the laceration on her lip needed eight stitches, and was "unbearably painful". 

Milner, who had no previous convictions, admitted a charge of assaulting a person thereby occasioning them actual bodily harm.

A probation officer told the court Milner’s account, which was that he felt "intimidated" after being “grabbed by the nurse” and so “put his hand on her shoulder to push her back, brought his hand up, and it jerked her in the face”.

However, defence barrister Kevin Hill said his client had since seen CCTV footage of the incident, which occurred on December 5, 2022, and “accepts that his perception is out”.

Mr Hill added: “His physical state certainly was poor at the time, and it’s obvious perhaps that his mental state was low, hence his behaviour and understanding of what was happening.

“He responded impulsively and in the wrong way, and he has shocked himself by the injury that wasn’t intended to the level that it was inflicted.”

Addressing the defendant, Judge Robert Pawson said: “You were rude, frustrated, and inpatient, and I imagine that’s not an uncommon experience to NHS staff, because lots of people that go to hospital are rude, frustrated and impatient.

“But the doctors and nurses are working every hour they can for the benefit of the general public.

“They are all under-resourced, and I imagine, extremely overworked and completely devoted, and the last thing they need is an 80-year-old man being rude and impatient.

“A woman at work confronted by a grumpy pensioner - that’s what this comes down to.

“But you took it to another level Mr Milner, and I have no doubt that the events panned out exactly as described by [the ward sister].

“She acted professionally and with your best interests at heart, and your response was to punch her in the face.

“It is my view that although you express regret, you lack genuine remorse, because you’re still peddling this cock and ball story that the nurse grabbed you.

“It’s absolutely disgraceful. Your behaviour was absolutely appalling, and some may go as far as to say contemptible.”

Milner was handed a ten-month prison sentence suspended for 18 months, and ordered to pay compensation of £1500 to the victim.

Judge Pawson told the defendant: “If you’d have been a man in your 30s or 40s I’d have sent you straight to prison.”