SEVERAL people, including a driver for South Grafton News and Gifts will have to be tested for hepatitis C following a disturbing incident in Skinner St, South Grafton involving a mentally ill woman recently.
Witnesses, including newsagent Brad Layton, said the woman was covered in blood at the front of the newsagents about 6am when she walked in and started demanding cigarettes from customers.
Mr Layton said he told the woman to move on and she threatened to flick blood onto people.
"On her way out, our delivery driver Michael was on his way in and she slapped him in the face; he copped a handful of blood straight across the face."
Mr Layton called Grafton police.
The woman, Mr Layton said, then went to a Ryan St service station where she jumped on the operator's back and slapped him in the face then went back to Skinner St.
"I reckon the next 12 customers I saw had been either hit or approached by this woman.
"She was walking around yelling out 'I've murdered my children, I've murdered my children'."
When the woman had returned, Mr Layton chased her off and called police again, some 20 minutes after the first call.
He said he had to provide directions to the police on duty about the location of Skinner St.
"They took 45 minutes to get here from the first call," he said.
Mr Layton let his customers use his facilities to clean themselves.
Grafton duty officer Inspector Murray Gillett said the woman was found by police and an ambulance took her to Grafton Base Hospital which later advised by phone that the woman had hepatitis C.
He said the police report indicated the initial call came at 6.15am and police were on scene by 6.35am.
Mr Layton was upset to hear the news that the woman was a hepatitis C sufferer because it potentially affected so many people.
"Police haven't taken statements from us or returned to tell us what we should do," he said.
The woman was described in her early to mid-30s and police said she had a Coutts Crossing address.
Witnesses said she did not smell of alcohol or act drunk.
There are unconfirmed reports the woman was allowed back in the community the same day.
Inspector Gillett said the response to mental health issues was an area of concern for police and he was seeking urgent meetings with mental health services out of Lismore in coming days to resolve some issues.