Shoalhaven Hospital drama: Pistol drawn as pregnant Nowra woman attempts to escape custody

A Corrective Services officer drew a pistol to stop a pregnant woman in his custody from escaping Shoalhaven District Hospital.

Charlene Maree Smith, 23, was being treated at the hospital for complications with her pregnancy when she attempted to run from corrective officers in the maternity section of the hospital.

Smith, seven months’ pregnant had been transferred from Batemans Bay for care at the hospital on May 27 after experiencing a difficult pregnancy and needing treatment.

Accompanied by two correctives officers, Smith was said to be in a depressed state at not being able to contact family or have a cigarette.

Unrestrained during her stay, Smith was able to move between her bed and the bathroom as required, however she was under officers’ supervision.

Around 3.50pm on May 28, after using the bathroom, Smith became upset.

One of the officers offered to get her a cup of coffee from the nearby kitchenette.

Smith told the other officer she needed a nurse or a midwife because she “needed some underwear because of woman’s stuff”.

The remaining officer told her to get onto the bed and said they would get someone to attend to her.

Smith was standing between the bathroom and the door and made a run for it towards the exit doors, which were both open.

The officer yelled for her to “stop” but she continued running into a hospital hallway at which point the officer drew a pistol and shouted, “Stop or I will shoot, stop!”

Smith allegedly stopped and said, “Please don’t shoot, I’m pregnant.”

The officer holstered the firearm, with Smith again running, taking to a set of stairs where she fell near the bottom.

As she attempted to get up the officer handcuffed her.

Smith was handcuffed to a mobile bed and returned to the ward, where she told attending police, “I did the wrong thing and attempted to run.”

She admitted she knew it was an offence, saying she was “stupid” and wanted to “go outside for a smoke”.

Smith would have been eligible for parole on July 25, but that opportunity has since been revoked.

She pleaded guilty to attempting to escape from lawful custody before Magistrate Gabriel Fleming in Nowra Local Court on Monday.

She will be sentenced on July 27.


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