A man who was threatening to self-harm in a police cell in Wrexham ended up assaulting a police inspector by spitting in his face.
The officer was disgusted by the actions of Phillip Berry, particularly as he and his colleagues had been trying to ensure his welfare.
At Flintshire Magistrates Court yesterday Berry, 23, of College Fields in Tanyfron, Wrexham, was placed on an 18 month community order with rehabilitation and 150 hours unpaid work after he admitted assaulting the officer, a separate offence of possessing cannabis and an earlier offence of criminal damage.
He was ordered to pay £400 compensation to the police officer, £158 compensation for damaging his former partner’s front door, with £85 costs and a £85 surcharge.
The Mold court was told he committed criminal damage at the home of his partner in Moorland Avenue in Wrexham.
But at Wrexham Police Station he attempted to self harm by putting a piece of clothing around his neck.
There was a struggle with a number of officers as he was taken to the floor and his clothing was taken off him.
The cell was monitored and the defendant was seen to be trying to rip a blanket to make a ligature, said Rhian Jackson, prosecuting.
He threatened to assault anyone who came into the cell.
Two more officers were called to assist and then his custody clothing and the blanket was removed.
There was a struggle and as officers closed the door the defendant spat into the inspector’s face.
Miss Jackson said the spittle went into his right eye and onto his cheek.
The officer felt disgusted that Berry spat in his face without any provocation when he was simply trying to protect him and prevent him from making a ligature.
Later interviewed, Berry gave a no comment interview.
Andy Holliday, defending, said the original criminal damage offence occurred when he went to his former partner’s address in the early hours of the morning to check on the children.
The incident at the police station happened during self-harm issues and he accepted he was not in a particularly good place at the time.
He certainly apologised to the police officers, particularly the one who received spittle in the face.
It was a disturbing, unpleasant incident, he said.
Berry had been trying to choke himself with clothing and officers ripped his clothes off him to prevent him doing so.
Mr Holliday asked the magistrates to consider the state his client was in when the spitting occurred as he was looking at potentially ending his life.
It was clear Berry would benefit from probation intervention, Mr Holliday said.
He was “a big strapping lad” who would also be able to do unpaid work for the community, said Mr Holliday.