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Wednesday, 23 July 2014

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Man serving suspended jail term headbutted policeman, Carlisle court told

A man who headbutted a policeman and punched a vulnerable man in a pub has been jailed for 15 months.

Nicholas Lancaster, 21, of Sunny Bank, Stainton, near Penrith, committed the offences while he was serving a suspended prison sentence for possessing cocaine with intent to supply.

Carlisle Crown Court heard that Lancaster had gone to the town’s Gloucester Arms pub on November 21 last year and hit one of the pub’s regular customers – a man described as “vulnerable” – knocking him over a bench.

Lancaster should have been at home because he was electronically tagged and on curfew from a previous court order.

At earlier court appearances, Lancaster admitted common assault, assaulting a policeman and using threatening words or behaviour.

Prosecutor Brendan Burke said: “This vulnerable man was left white and shaken. He went home but when he woke up the following day he was suffering from consistent pain.

“He had to go to Penrith hospital and was later transferred to a larger hospital as he had blood in his urine.

“He spent 13 hours in total in hospital.”

Police were called to a disturbance at Lancaster’s home on February 28 this year.

Mr Burke said: “When they arrived Lancaster greeted them with clenched fists. They had to use Pava spray because he was spitting and shouting abuse. He headbutted one of the policemen.”

Keith Thomas, defending Lancaster, said he didn’t know the first victim and couldn’t understand why he had been involved.

“Regarding the incident with police, he had had an altercation with his girlfriend and his way of dealing with it is to walk away but he wasn’t able to do that because he was on a curfew,” he said.

“There had been a big family issue which caused things to escalate. He did not leave the house. He stood in the doorway and when the police came he kicked off.

“Clearly his family feel to some extent that he is being targeted by police.

“On the one hand he has made excellent progress with the drugs but has relapsed with the drink.”

Judge Peter Hughes QC said told Lancaster he had assaulted a vulnerable young man “for no reason whatsoever.”

He said: “You punched him, injuring his back, and he had to go to hospital for treatment because of the concern about his injuries.

“Police officers do a very difficult job. They don’t do it on the basis that they accept being assaulted by young men but it’s a risk that they have to take as part of their job. You have put me in a position where I have no alternative to send you to prison.”

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