Frequent spitter returned to jail

AN IPSWICH woman who has been jailed 24 times before is back behind bars after setting fire to items in a boarding house and repeatedly spitting on police and prison officers.

Tammy Maree Duffy pleaded guilty at the Brisbane District Court to charges of wilful damage, endangering a property by fire, stealing and 13 counts of serious assault.

The court heard Duffy had been previously convicted 22 times for assaulting police and corrective service staff.

Duffy, 42, was arrested for shoplifting on October 17, 2014 - just two days after she had been placed on parole at the Ipswich District Court for spitting at police officers and lighting items on fire.

Duffy was released on bail to a boarding house where, over a period of weeks, she set fire to two mattresses, a pillow, books, a container and curtains.

A fellow resident received burns when putting out the curtains. 

When police arrested Duffy for lighting the fires she resisted and spat on an officer. After being returned to prison she repeatedly spat on prison officers and threw hot tea at two guards.

On a separate occasion when an officer tried to place a spit hood over Duffy's head she bit the officer's finger.

The court heard Duffy has a range of mental health conditions and a chromosomal abnormality that impacts how she controls impulses.

Defence barrister Janice Crawford told the court that prison was not having an impact on Duffy and said her client had asked to be released on a suspended prison sentence.

Ms Crawford said Duffy had spent seven months alone in the prison's detention unit. During those seven months Duffy had to be restrained and a spit hood placed over her head twice a day when officers entered her cell.

Judge Paul Smith said despite the recent public outcry regarding spit hoods in juvenile detention facilities there were times when they were needed.

An emotional Duffy held her fists to her eyes and cried out "No" when Judge Smith said he would be sending her back to jail.

She was sentenced to three years prison and will be eligible to apply for release on parole after nine months behind bars.


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