A COURT has heard a nurse's moving account of how she was attacked at a psychiatric clinic in Carlisle by a frustrated patient.

The woman's account of her ordeal was read aloud at the city's Rickergate Magistrates' Court after Cameron Telford, 26, pleaded guilty to a common assault on the woman.

Defence lawyer John Smith told the court that the defendant - who expected to resume his life in the community - was frustrated because he was not given the help he needed to claim Universal Credit.

Amy Labram, prosecuting, said the victim was assaulted as she worked in the office of the clinic's Acorn Unit on August 8 this year.

"The defendant walked into the staff office, kicked her in the back of the head and tried to thump her in the back of the head," said the lawyer. The woman hurt her knee on a desk as she defended herself. Her ordeal ended when a colleague intervened and they restrained Telford. Miss Labram read from the woman's impact statement.

She was typing up patient records when she was kicked in the head, she said.

"The kick came out of nowhere," she said, explaining that she had not heard Cameron enter the office. "I turned around and he immediately thumped me in the eye. He was going to hit me again but another staff member caught him...I'm shocked and don't expect to be assaulted at work."

John Smith, for Telford, of Trafalgar Street, Denton Holme, Carlisle, said he was a compulsory patient for 22 months and was anticipating a return to the community. "He found a flat, paid a deposit on it, and then needed to claim universal credit," said Mr Smith.

"He had difficulty with that. He asked for help from the staff and from his CPN to make the claim and they said it was not their responsibility; that he should go to the CAB or somewhere like that. I believe he lost his deposit."

District Judge Gerald Chalk imposed an 80 day jail term but suspended it for 12 months.

The judge commented: "It was an unprovoked attack and it involved a kick to the head with a shod foot. The damage you can do with that is incredible high.

"The victims provides a service for very little remuneration and it took place in a hospital. You have a record for using violence and that justifies a prison sentence.

"However, I accept that there are mental health issues in this case. You were recovering from your mental health issues at the time. That's why I'm persuaded to suspend the sentence."