Man disrupts funeral by abusing dead person and lashing out

A man who disrupted a Balclutha funeral, yelling vulgarities and causing distress and upset, has been remanded in custody.

Stephen John Hurring (59), of Balclutha, pleaded guilty to disorderly behaviour likely to cause violence at the Balclutha Memorial Hall last Wednesday and two related charges of Summary Offences Act assault.

He entered his pleas before Judge Michael Crosbie in the Dunedin District Court yesterday and will be sentenced next Wednesday.

Prosecutor Acting Sergeant Mike Gasson said about 700 mourners were at the funeral.

An intoxicated Hurring was standing in the hall's entrance foyer about 2.10pm.

During proceedings, he became verbally abusive towards the dead person, yelling vulgarities and causing distress to mourners, including family.

Asked to leave, Hurring refused and caused a commotion, disrupting the funeral.

When restrained by an off-duty constable, Hurring lashed out, striking the officer on the side of the head and pulling his tie, causing it to tighten around his neck.

In the cells at the police station, Hurring attempted to punch a constable, resulting in the officer taking evasive action.

Hurring's fist scraped the back of his vest and the constable fell on to the concrete cell bed.

Public defender Jo Turner said Hurring wished to apologise for his behaviour. The person who had died had been a close friend.

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