Policeman assaulted at Scarborough funeral wake after 4 drunken louts 'turned nasty'

A judge has hit out at the wanton violence aimed at police officers after a Scarborough man appeared in court for attacking and injuring a traffic constable trying to break up a drunken, “yobbish” group of men at a funeral wake.

By Court Reporter
Thursday, 25th March 2021, 7:55 am
Updated Thursday, 25th March 2021, 8:30 am

Stuart Martin, 40, was one of four drunken men who were causing bother at East Ayton Lodge, prompting staff to call police.

Prosecutor Matthew Collins told York Crown Court that when the traffic constable turned up, he could “hear a group shouting and being rowdy”.

“At the entrance to the lodge, four males engaged with the officer,” added Mr Collins.

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What started as “good-humoured banter” about the officer’s Liverpudlian accent soon turned nasty, “especially when the officer asked them to leave because of the way they behaved”, said Mr Collins.

There was nothing “good-humoured” about what happened next as Martin and his mates taunted and tried to provoke the officer.

Martin, who was shouting at the lone constable, “threw the contents of his drink on the floor before handing the constable his glass and walking off, and making further comments about the Scouse accent,” added Mr Collins.

The officer retreated to his vehicle and moved it to the front of the lodge. He was “half in and half out” of the car when, “out of nowhere”, another man appeared, shouting “I’m a fxxxxxx paratrooper” and slamming the car door against the officer’s leg.

The officer grabbed hold of the man who put up a struggle as he tried to get away. Three other men, including Martin, then converged on the officer to try to get him off their friend.

Martin, who, said Mr Collins, had drunk about eight or nine pints, grabbed the officer by his vest and tried to pull him away from his friend “the paratrooper”, who is said to have “lashed out” towards the officer’s face before Martin pushed the constable with such force he fell to the ground, injuring his hand.

The men ran off and the officer gave chase but couldn’t run properly because of the pain to his leg. They got away, but the officer had captured the incident on a body-worn camera.

Martin, of Riggs Head, was identified on the footage by another officer who had come across him before. He was arrested and charged with assaulting a police officer with intent to resist arrest following the incident at the venue at about 11pm in September 2019.

He claimed he wasn’t involved in the attack and that it was a case of mistaken identity, only admitting the offence about a week before a trial was due to take place. He appeared for sentence on Wednesday.

The court heard that the officer had suffered cuts and bruises to his hand, a cut to his knee and bruising and pain to his shin and neck which left him with restricted movement.

Mr Collins said that Martin had previous convictions for drink-related violence, public disorder, threatening behaviour and resisting a police constable.

Neil Cutte, for Martin, said he was a working family man who earned a good wage, but accepted that “he has done something that is bad”.

Recorder Andrew Dallas slammed Martin for “this yobbish behaviour against an isolated emergency worker, which is not to be tolerated”.

He told the defendant: “If you read the (newspapers), you can see the way things are going (regarding attacks on police officers).

“You behaved in a truculent and aggressive and disrespectful manner to an officer who was only doing his duty, who was isolated in a rural area.

“You were an obvious physical threat to someone in his position. He was only there because bar staff couldn’t get you out of the place.”

Mr Dallas said Martin’s behaviour towards the officer was “about as provocative and contemptuous (as could be)”.

He said he could not overlook that the “sustained group attack” had resulted in “serious consequences” for the officer.

He added, however, that he had noted the “very good” reference from Martin’s employer and that the defendant’s job would be in peril if he were sent to jail.

Martin was handed a 10-week prison sentence, but this was suspended for 12 months. He was also ordered to carry out 150 hours’ unpaid work and pay the officer £250 compensation, as well as £250 prosecution costs.

The other “mystery male” who attacked the officer was never apprehended nor identified after fleeing the scene.