Edinburgh mother assaults social work staff

A MOTHER of four faces jail after attacking two social workers inside a council office. Kelly Brogan launched the vicious attack against Victoria Hampton and Elaine Franklin in the reception area of the Muirhouse social work office.

The 31-year-old pulled Ms Hampton to the ground by her hair and repeatedly spat on her during the assault on July 20.

Brogan also admitted attacking Ms Franklin as she tried to defend her colleague, yanking out a piece of her hair as well.

She admitted assault charges on the women during a hearing at Edinburgh Sheriff Court yesterday, and was told she could face a prison term when she returns for sentencing.

The case comes amid continuing concern over the level of both verbal and physical attacks on council staff, with those working for the children and families department targeted more than any others.

Councillor Marilyne MacLaren, the city’s children and families leader, today branded Brogan’s behaviour as “disgraceful” and vowed attacks on staff would not be tolerated.

Depute procurator fiscal Faith Currie told the court that Brogan arrived at the council office in Muirhouse Crescent at around 2pm. Ms Hampton and Ms Franklin were called to the front desk after Brogan told staff she wanted to speak to her social worker.

Ms Currie said: “The accused seemed agitated and refused to speak to them. They tried to calm her down and explained they would talk with her in the consultation room, but her daughter would have to wait in the reception.

“The accused became upset by this and the social workers suggested that she should go home until she had calmed down. The accused lashed out at Ms Hampton and pulled her by the hair to the ground. Ms Franklin tried to intervene but the accused grabbed her hair.”

A member of staff managed to pull the emergency panic button to alert other staff.

Sheriff Kenneth McIver deferred sentence on Brogan, of Fifth Street in Newtongrange, for reports but warned her that she faced a possible custodial sentence.

Cllr MacLaren said: “It’s disgraceful that our staff had to endure this attack whilst going about their important work. We won’t tolerate violence and we will continue to work with the police to ensure that our staff are as safe as possible.”

In the year to the end of March 2010, abuse reported by council workers in Edinburgh reached an average of 2.7 a day.

A total of 692 of these cases of abuse happened to staff who work in the children and families department.