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Drunken fisherman left police officer’s hand disfigured after attack

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John Pirie, 53, became “incredibly” hostile and aggressive when police turned up at his home in order to arrest his son. A court heard Pirie was also detained after shouting and swearing at officers, and he then tried to headbutt a constable.

The officer was forced to raise his hand to protect himself but Pirie’s head made contact with the officer’s hand, breaking it and injuring his ring finger.

He was taken to hospital, where his arm had to be placed in a cast for a month and it was discovered his finger would be left permanently deformed.

Pirie, a grandfather, pleaded guilty to assault occasioning actual bodily harm, reports Chronicle Live.

But his 26-week jail term was suspended for 12 months at Newcastle Magistrates’ Court last week. He must abstain from alcohol for 60 days, which will be monitored by a tag on his body.

The defendant’s attack was captured on camera in footage described as “distressing” in court.

Sentencing Pirie, District Judge Kate Meek said: “I find the video footage distressing to watch. Your animosity, hostility and hysteria is really quite difficult to watch. I think the video shows how you and your family behaved at the outset towards the police.

“I appreciate that the police may have reacted and some of the language used by the police was undesirable and there may have been a physical altercation but, from the get-go, you and your family were hostile, obstructive and combative with the police. The flavour of the incident and how it unfolded started with all your behaviour. The injury sustained by the officer was a fractured hand that led to permanent disfiguring. There’s no doubt that this case is so serious that only a custodial sentence is appropriate.

“However, your remorse, that you employ people that would likely lose their job if you were sent to prison and that there is some prospect of rehabilitation means I am just about persuaded to impose a suspended sentence. And by just, I mean by the skin of your teeth.”

The court heard two police officers attended Pirie’s address in North Shields, Tyne and Wear, on the evening of January 30 this year to arrest Pirie’s son. As well as the son, Pirie and his wife Beverley Davis were also present and immediately became aggressive and obstructive.

Sue Baker, prosecuting, said during the course of the incident, Davis pushed a female officer and back-up was requested as the family’s behaviour appeared to be escalating. Mrs Baker continued: “Other officers arrived and noted the defendant was under arrest. One of them helped escort him and, while escorting him, the defendant launched towards him and attempted to headbutt him.

“The officer blocked the blow with his hand. He went to the RVI and had a fractured hand and a deformity to his left ring finger. That finger is still deformed and his hand had to be in a plaster cast for four weeks.”

District Judge Kate Meek said: “I find the video footage distressing to watch. Your animosity, hostility and hysteria is really quite difficult to watch. I think the video shows how you and your family behaved at the outset towards the police.

“I appreciate that the police may have reacted and some of the language used by the police was undesirable and there may have been a physical altercation but, from the get-go, you and your family were hostile, obstructive and combative with the police. The flavour of the incident and how it unfolded started with all your behaviour. The injury sustained by the officer was a fractured hand that led to permanent disfiguring. There’s no doubt that this case is so serious that only a custodial sentence is appropriate.”

The judge continued: “However, your remorse, that you employ people that would likely lose their job if you were sent to prison and that there is some prospect of rehabilitation means I am just about persuaded to impose a suspended sentence. And by just, I mean by the skin of your teeth.”

The court heard that the victim had been caused considerable pain and distress by Pirie’s attack. He said: “This made my life difficult as I struggled with daily tasks and to look after my daughter, who was only four-months-old at the time.”

Stuart Athey, defending, said Pirie, who has 16 offences on his record, had been out with his wife drinking at bingo all day and had consumed around 10 pints. After they returned home, the police arrived to arrest their son and things turned hostile. Mr Athey said Pirie’s behaviour escalated after he saw his wife being pushed to the floor.

The solicitor added: “Mr Pirie is incredibly apologetic and usually respectful of what the police do. He’s a grandfather and doesn’t want to get into this sort of situation ever again in his life.” Mr Athey said Pirie had little memory of the incident.

Pirie was also ordered to pay £500 compensation, £85 costs and a £128 victim surcharge. His wife Davis, 53, admitted assaulting an emergency worker, in respect of the push, and was fined £300 and ordered to pay £85 costs and a £35 victim surcharge.

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