November 2016

HIV woman who jabbed boy with syringe is jailed for 16 months

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AN HIV positive woman who jabbed a 12-year-old boy with a needle filled with infected bodily fluids after the lad flushed her drugs stash down the toilet was today jailed for 16 months.

Jacqueline O’Neil “culpably and recklessly” pricked the youngster, who cannot be named for legal reasons, with the uncapped needle at her home in Dundee.

Her lawyer told the court: “The public perception of her is that she is some kind of monster.”

Dundee Sheriff Court heard the boy had turned up at O’Neil’s address with one of O’Neil’s relatives.

The lad gave evidence at a proof in mitigation hearing to establish the exact circumstances of the incident. 

He told the court O’Neil was clearly under the influence of drugs and was surrounded by drug paraphenalia when he found her in the living room with a syringe stuck in her leg.

O’Neil, giving evidence herself, admitted she had taken heroin but claimed the boy had “totally fabricated” the circumstances leading up to him being pricked and branded him a “liar”.

Giving evidence through a CCTV link, the boy said he had taken a foil wrap containing heroin and had flushed it down the toilet.

He said: “She tried to slap it out of my hand.

“There was a needle sitting on a pillowcase and when I came back in she started waving at me.

“It hit me on the hand.”

 The boy said it had gone in so deep he had to physically extract it himself before leaving.

O’Neil claimed that she had been trying to protect the boy when he was stuck by the needle 

In her version of events O’Neil claimed the boy had been handed the needle by the other adult and that she was trying to take it from him when he was stuck.

Fiscal depute Saima Rasheed asked: “His position is that there was a syringe in your thigh and the barrel was full of blood.

“He saw a wrap, thought it contained heroin and went to flush it down the toilet.

“You tried to take it from his hand.

“He managed to flush it and on his way back you were waving a needle about.

“He tried to get out while you were waving it and struck him, so much so that he had to pull it out.

O’Neil said: “That’s fabricated – he is lying.”

But a sheriff ruled the boy’s version was true – and said O’Neil was “not credible”.

Miss Rasheed said the boy had suffered no ill-effects as a result of the incident and had not become infected. 

O’Neil, 32, of Gourdie Place, Dundee, pleaded guilty on indictment to a charge of culpable and reckless conduct and a further charge of assault.

Defence solicitor Gary McIlravey said: “The public perception of her is she is some kind of monster.

“She was assaulted in the street by two women – she is easily recognisable.

“The stigma of this offence will stay with her for some considerable time.

“Had she not let her lifestyle decline to the extent she did this would not have happened.”Sheriff Lorna Drummond QC jailed O’Neil for 16 months. 

She said: “This is a very serious charge.

“You put the boy’s health at risk by your reckless conduct.

“It is a very serious matter indeed.

 “You accept none of this would have happened if you were not involved in drugs.

“You disputed how he came to have this puncture wound – but I had no difficulty believing him over you.

“Given the very serious nature of your conduct and the serious danger he was put in only custody is warranted.”