Watchhouse inmate charged for desperate act to keep warm

CHILLED and with no blanket in his Gladstone watchhouse cell, Russell Emmerson picked out the stitching of a police-issued mattress to make a hole to get inside for warmth.

Alas, his painstaking actions did not impress watchhouse officers and Emmerson, 33, was charged with causing wilful damage to police property on Saturday, June 25.

The Kirkwood resident pleaded guilty before Gladstone Magistrates Court to the charge.

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Prosecutor Gavin Reece said Emmerson was processed at the watchhouse on another matter and put in a cell at 10.45pm.

He was observed ripping a protective cover off and picking the stitching out, creating a hole in the mattress.

Mr Reece said the damaged mattress had to be replaced at a cost of $230.

Lawyer Jun Pepito said Emmerson was a boilermaker and had been drinking that night. He was taken into police custody to calm down.

He had been asking for a blanket in the cell as it was quite cold "but the blanket was not forthcoming".

"Essentially he was making a hole so he can go in and cover himself," Mr Pepito said.

Magistrate Melanie Ho fined Emmerson $500 and ordered he pay $230 compensation.

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