February 28, 2022 11.35 am This story is over 20 months old

Row with High Street busker lands ex-Lincoln nurse in jail

She mimicked an Irish dancer before grabbing for his drum case with money in

A former nurse from Lincoln has had a suspended prison sentence activated after a row with a busker in the city’s High Street last Saturday (February 26).

Shirley Smith, 49, was jailed for 20 weeks following her appearance before Lincoln Magistrates’ Court on Monday morning.

The activation of the suspended sentence order came despite a plea from the Probation Service for the bench to find another way to punish the defendant as she had been making good progress.

Prosecutor Paul Wood told the court the row happened on Saturday lunchtime.

He said: “A Mr Conroy was Irish dancing and the defendant began mimicking his performance.

“She reached out to his drum case that was being used to collect money and he grabbed it back.

“The defendant started shouting and swearing. She had previously been seen drinking in the Brayford Wharf area.”

Smith, of Charlesworth Street, pleaded guilty to a public order offence and breaching a Criminal Behaviour Order imposed last August which prevented her from entering High Street.

She also admitted that commission of those offences breached the suspended sentence order.

The court was told Smith had made a court appearance on February 19 for a similar matter.

Solicitor Mark McNeil said his client’s decline was a sad story – going from a nurse to an alcoholic homeless person – but she had made progress in tackling her “demons”.

“The incident on Saturday was something in a playful, jovial manner.

“She felt it was an over-reaction on his part and there was an argument,” Mr McNeil added, highlighting that Smith had been held in custody since the offence.

A probation officer told the court that Smith’s compliance had been much better recently and there was “hope” for her.

The bench said it was necessary to activate the 12-week suspended sentence because it was a second breach.

Smith was given a further eight weeks’ custody for breaching the Criminal Behaviour Order.

There was no separate penalty for the public order offence but she was told to pay a £128 victim surcharge.