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Whitehaven hospital patient set fire to bed and assaulted two staff members

West Cumberland Hospital
West Cumberland Hospital

[A] JURY has heard how a Whitehaven hospital patient set fire to his bed and assaulted two female members of staff.

Gavin Grant McAlpine committed reckless arson, three assaults and damaged a ceiling in the space of just six days at the West Cumberland Hospital last November.

McAlpine, 39, was said to be “poorly” and unfit to stand trial on five charges that he faced. In his absence, a Carlisle Crown Court jury unanimously concluded after hearing evidence that he had done each of the criminal acts outlined by the prosecution.

McAlpine had been an inpatient on the hospital’s Yewdale mental health unit when the incidents occurred. A jury heard evidence that he spat in the face of a healthcare assistant and also threw a cup at her. He tipped food over the head of an activities co-ordinator, threw coffee and soup over a newly-painted ceiling and also set fire to a sheet, duvet cover and mattress in his room, causing £1,000 damage

Jurors heard McAlpine, previously of Wellington Row, Whitehaven, had since been moved to a “more secure hospital”. His case was adjourned, and McAlpine could potentially receive a hospital order when a judge considers his case on a future date.

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