A HELENSBURGH man who hurled racist abuse at an A&E nurse and attacked two police officers, kicking one and spitting at another, has been jailed.

James Jeffrey targeted the two officers after they were called to a disturbance at a flat in James Street.

Jeffrey, of East King Street, appeared for sentencing at Dumbarton Sheriff Court on Friday after pleading guilty at an earlier hearing to four separate charges of assault and one of racially-aggravated behaviour, all committed on July 29.

The incident happened just a week after the 45-year-old was granted bail by the same court in connection with an unrelated matter.

Fiscal depute Emma Petterson, prosecuting, told the court Jeffrey had gone to the property at about 2am, joining two other men who were already present.

Ms Petterson said a drunken argument soon broke out resulting in Jeffrey head-butting one of the men, and punching the other on the head when the second victim tried to intervene.

The second victim was also bitten on the arm by Jeffrey as the other two men tried to get him out of the house.

“Police were asked to attend,” Ms Petterson said, “and on their arrival saw the accused lying in the common close outside the flat.

“One of them approached the accused, and the accused struck out with both feet and kicked the officer on the chest three times.”

Jeffrey was handcuffed, arrested, cautioned and charged and taken first to Clydebank police station and then to the RAH in Paisley because of his state of drunkenness.

“He was taken to a triage area to be assessed by the duty staff nurse,” Ms Petterson continued, “and shouted at her ‘f*** off, you black b*****d’.”

Jeffrey’s solicitor, Stephen McGuire, said his client had “ a chequered history” of offending but that his record had no similar offences.

Mr McGuire said: “While he explains that he was under the influence of alcohol, he doesn’t use that as an excuse – there was nothing proper about his behaviour that night.

“It seems the original argument was sparked by someone making a remark about Mr Jeffrey’s partner.”

Asking for his client to be given a non-custodial sentence, Mr McGuire also said Jeffrey had suffered a number of family bereavements and that a young relative had been diagnosed with cancer before the incident.

But Sheriff William Gallacher said Jeffrey – who had spent six weeks on remand awaiting sentence after admitting four of the charges against him – had breached numerous community-based punishments in the past, and said he had “no confidence at all that the other options are going to have an impact”.

Sheriff Gallacher told Jeffrey: “You carried out acts of violence of a persistent nature, causing injury in both cases. Police were called, and you were violent to them, and that continues all the way to the hospital, where you then decided to spit on one officer and make hideous comments towards someone who was trying to treat you.

“All the charges are hideous, and all of them are aggravated by your having been granted bail.

“I’m not satisfied that a non-custodial sentence would be appropriate in this matter. My responsibility here lies squarely with protecting the public.”

Jeffrey was sentenced to 12 months in prison, backdated to July 30, when he was originally remanded in custody.