Thief jailed after throwing hot coffee over female police officer

York Crown Court
York Crown Court

A police officer suffered burns to her face and chest after a hot drink was thrown over her as she quizzed a Scarborough man in the street, a court heard on Friday.

The officer suffered superficial burns which were treated at hospital, but also suffered temporary vision problems in her eye following the assault at the hands of Jack Ferguson.

York Crown Court heard that the injuries sustained in the incident on November 1, last year, had not had any lasting consequences for the officer.

Minutes earlier Ferguson, 26, of Wooler Street, had snatched £40.72 from a till at Scarborough Library and then later, after throwing hot takeaway coffee over the officer, entered a Proudfoot supermarket and snatched a further £432 from a till, threatening a female assistant.

He had previously pleaded guilty to two charges of theft and one of assault occasioning actual bodily harm, also admitting being in breach of a community order by not turning up for unpaid work sessions.

The court heard that when the police finally tracked Ferguson down to a house in the Eastfield area, a search revealed him hiding in a cupboard, the door of which was hidden behind a chest freezer.

The community order was passed at York Crown Court last year for offences of burglary and fraud, the court hearing on Friday that Ferguson has a record of 28 previous convictions for 57 offences.

Christopher Dunn, mitigating, asked the court to place his client under a “last chance saloon” deferred sentence to give him a chance to prove himself.

He added that Ferguson, who had suffered a poor, abusive upbringing and problems with drugs, was trying hard to change his life for the sake of his own young son.

Mr Dunn said that as a result of being held on remand for five months, Ferguson had missed his child’s first Christmas, his first words and his first steps, something, together with the realisation that he had let everyone down, which was “torturing” him.

Mr Dunn added: “If ever there was a case which requires a stick and carrot approach, his is it”.

The court heard that on the day the offences were committed, Ferguson had been to his local probation office explaining that he had had a fall-out with his partner, was homeless and again taking drugs.

Mr Dunn said that this showed the turmoil Ferguson was in at the time, trying to put his life right but being able to cope with problems without support.

Jailing Ferguson for a total of 30 months, The Recorder of York, Judge Stephen Ashurst, said that anyone who injures a police officer doing their lawful duty had to suffer the consequences.

The judge said that he had to take into account the possibility of more offences being committed against people and property in Scarborough.

He added that Ferguson had already thrown away the golden opportunity afforded to him through the community order.