A male who broke a police officer’s nose and cheekbone has avoided jail only weeks after senior politicians claimed that they would be cracking down on the individuals who assault emergency services personnel.
Joel Rushton, 37, repeatedly struck the officer as he resisted being arrested. York Crown Court heard how Rushton landed ‘one mighty blow after another’ on the officer in Jan this year.
The male officer received specialist treatment in hospital for several fractures to his face. He still suffers from the physical and mental effects of the outrageous assault nine months after the terrifying ordeal.
The court heard how the officer had gone into Rushton’s address to arrest him owing to his behaviour towards his ex-partner who had been bombarded with ‘nasty phone calls and threatened with her life’, according to CPS prosecutor James Howard.
Six months after breaking up with Rushton, she received a barrage of threatening phone calls from him telling her: “I’m going to smash your head in; I’m going to kill you. I’m going to find you. I’m going to your mum’s to put my foot through the door. I want you dead.”
She kept hanging up on Rushton who continued to try and phone her. It was at this point that she requested the assistance of the police.
She was so frightened about what Rushton might do to her, that she left her address to seek refuge at Harrogate Police Station.
When response team officers turned up at Rushton’s home, he refused to be put in handcuffs. He turned so violent that officers had to use incapacitant spray in an attempt to subdue him.
Rushton’s new girlfriend was also at the address and became “highly agitated”.
Rushton then “made a beeline” for one of the officers who was punched repeatedly in the face and head. The scuffle spilt out onto the street where Rushton grabbed one of the officer’s batons.
The injured officer had an X-ray six days later, which showed he had fractures to his nose and cheekbone. He also suffered nasal bleeding.
Rushton, of Grove Park Lane, appeared for sentence after he pled guilty to assaulting the officer (occasioning actual bodily harm) and making threatening phone calls to his ex-partner.
In a victim-impact statement, Rushton’s ex-girlfriend said she had been left feeling “anxious and distressed” which had resulted in her leaving the job she loved.
The officer who was seriously injured at Rushton’s home said he had suffered from depression, sleep problems and physical pain since the attack.
He was put on restricted duties for weeks following the attack.
The court heard that Rushton, a father-of-four, had two previous convictions for three offences, including public disorder.
Defence barrister Keith Allen said that Rushton, who worked as a fireplace installer, “lost emotional control” on the day in question while in a “primal state” born of “extreme anger”. He had behaved “completely out of character” when the officers came to arrest him.
Recorder Margia Mostafa branded Rushton’s behaviour towards his ex-partner as “disgraceful”.
However, she noted “glowing” character references from Rushton’s previous employers which spoke highly of Rushton.
Rushton was jailed for 22 months, but his sentence was suspended for two years. Ms Mostafa said that he had “come close” to going to prison for the brutal attack on the officer because, in her words, “assaults against police officers are not acceptable”.
Rushton was also handed a 12-month restraining order banning him from contacting or approaching his ex-partner.
He was also placed on a nine-month, nightly curfew and ordered to carry out 150 hours’ unpaid work as well as being ordered to complete a 25-day rehabilitation programme and pay £1,500 compensation to the injured police officer.
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