Man headbutted police officer in station struggle

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A former soldier, who was arrested on suspicion of assault, headbutted a police officer during a struggle at the station.

Adam Flounders was drunk and abusive prompting the arresting officers to call for help to calm him, Hartlepool Magistrates’ Court heard.

Flounders’ victim, Acting Sergeant Euan Barclay, told the court: “I was on duty in an upstairs office in Hartlepool Police Station and received a call to help with an arrested person downstairs in the custody area who was being very volatile.

“When I arrived, I saw the man was in handcuffs, with his hands cuffed behind his back, being restrained by other officers on a bench.

“He appeared drunk to me, or at least to have been on something.

“He was struggling, volatile, and verbally abusive, telling one of the officers he knew him from the town and knew his girlfriend.

“Not direct threats, but threatening remarks.”

The court heard police decided to take Flounders straight to the cells.

“Normally an arrested person would be booked in by the custody sergeant,” said Acting Sergeant Barclay. “But when someone is being aggressive and out of control we can take them straight to the cells, let them calm down, and book them in later.

“We decided to do that in this case.

“The man was still struggling as he was led down a short hallway towards the cells.

“He dropped his body weight to make it more difficult for us to move him towards the cells.

“As he raised himself up, he headbutted me, hitting the left side of my jaw.

“The blow caused reddening, but no significant injury.

“It was a good thing he didn’t catch me full-on or I would have been in hospital.”

Acting Sergeant Barclay said he remained on duty, and did not require medical treatment.

“The bigger impact from something like this is on my family,” said the officer.

“My wife is nothing to do with the police service, and it’s very distressing for her when I come home after being assaulted.

“You expect a bit of rough and tumble in the job, but you don’t expect to be headbutted.”

The court heard Flounders was put in a cell, and his handcuffs removed.

Flounders, 29, St David’s Close, Billingham, denied assaulting a police officer in the execution of his duty on October 26, last year.

He told the court: “I admit I was annoyed and riled up, I had been arrested for no reason.

“I was verbally abusive, and I could have been a bit more cooperative.

“My hands were behind my back in handcuffs, and I had broken my hand four days prior at work.

“The police knew that, and in that hallway they tried to lift me up by my hands.

“That put me in a lot of pain, as I was lifted I had no intention to headbutt the officer, it was a reaction.

“I wasn’t drunk, I am a recovering alcoholic and had only had one drink.

“I’m also on medication for post traumatic stress disorder from my time in the army, and on medication for depression.”

The bench found Flounders guilty after retiring for 30 minutes.

Flounders was bailed to return to court to be sentenced on May 12.