Jail for Jamie Kershaw, a prolific Scarborough offender who 'ran amok' and assaulted police officers

Jamie Leigh Kershaw
Jamie Leigh Kershaw

A woman who assaulted and spat at police officers after threatening to jump off a building in Scarborough has been jailed for 12 months.

Prolific offender Jamie Leigh Kershaw, 20, was running amok at a centre for young homeless people, where she headbutted and cracked a window and threatened staff.

Police were called out but she turned her anger on them, lashing out and spitting at an officer, York Crown Court heard.

Kershaw was already on a suspended sentence for a separate incident in which she brandished a four-inch knife and a metal or wooden baton outside the same hostel in Aberdeen Walk on Christmas Day last year.

She appeared for sentence for the new offences on Tuesday after pleading guilty to common assault, threatening behaviour and committing an offence while on a suspended sentence.

Kershaw, currently of no fixed address, last appeared before the court in July for offences of criminal damage, resisting arrest and assaulting police officers, but sentence was deferred to this week.

She had been warned that if she committed any more offences during the deferment period, she would be locked up.

But within a month she was causing havoc again when she launched a “torrent” of verbal abuse at two police community support officers who were trying to stop her swinging on an automatic door in Scarborough town centre.

Weeks later, on September 14, she assaulted another female resident in her secure accommodation and spat in her face.

The offences for which Kershaw was due to be sentenced in July - the sentence being ultimately deferred - followed a terrifying incident at the housing-association property in Scarborough in April when Kershaw was threatening to harm herself and headbutted a window in the security office “with such force it cracked the double-glazed glass from one side to the other”, said prosecutor Ashleigh Metcalfe.

Kershaw then climbed onto a ledge on the top of the stairs, threatening to jump “head-first”.

Police arrived and tried to coax her down, whereupon she headbutted and punched a wall “numerous times” over (a period) of about two hours”, added Ms Metcalfe.

The headbutts and punches were delivered with such force they caused dents in the wall which had to be repaired. At one point, Kershaw started pulling at her hair and tried to set it ablaze with a lighter.

She was eventually coxed down from the ledge and went to her room but threatened to jump out of the window.

Four police officers tried to bring her under control, but when an officer tried to arrest her, she bit him on the leg “three times” and spat in his face.

Police put a spit hood on Kershaw, who was taken to hospital and then into police custody, where she was put in a “safety suit” for her own protection but continued “screaming and shouting and clenching her fists”.

She again spat at officers as they tried to restrain her and “locked” her arm around the neck of one of the female officers, causing “reddening and pain”. She then spat into the eye of another female officer who was on cell watch.

Kershaw had 32 previous convictions for 91 offences - the vast majority for violence and assaults on police officers. Her rap sheet also included criminal damage, ABH, theft, public disorder and unprovoked attacks on staff at her secure teaching centre.

In March this year, she was given a six-month suspended prison sentence for possessing an offensive weapon and a knife. She had previously received two conditional discharges for threatening behaviour, assaulting staff members at a youth detention centre and resisting a police officer in 2018.

Abbi Whelan, for Kershaw, said her troubled young client had otherwise been making good progress on her rehabilitative programmes designed primarily to ween her off drugs and alcohol.

Judge Simon Hickey, who imposed the suspended sentence in March, said Kershaw had “broken my trust” by committing more offences soon afterwards and yet more “appalling” offences when he deferred another sentence in July.

He said the fact that Kershaw had “ignored” his warnings “showed your (true) colours”, which meant he had no alternative but to send her to prison.

Jailing Kershaw for 12 months, he said she had caused her victims “great anguish”.