A police officer punched in a brutal attack has spoken out after the man behind the assault was freed after serving just a quarter of his 10-month sentence.

On December 27 last year, PC Diane Irving suffered severe facial bruising while on patrol in Botchergate, Carlisle, and was barely recognisable to colleagues.

The thug behind the attack, Kieron Murray, committed the offence when PC Irving went to help after finding him collapsed in the street.

The 24-year-old responded by punching the officer hard in the face, knocking her to the ground.

Last week, the News & Star exclusively revealed that Murray, of Esk Road, Lowry Hill in Carlisle, was released from prison on Thursday, November 22, just weeks after being jailed at Carlisle Crown Court on Friday, September 7.

The court also heard how Murray taunted the officers who arrested him with references to Dale Cregan, who murdered two female Greater Manchester police officers in September 2012.

His release conditions include a curfew between the hours of 3pm and 7am at his family’s home in Lowry Hill.

Following the news, PC Irving expressed her anger and disappointment at the decision, adding that it ‘makes a mockery out of the sentencing’.

In a statement, she said: “At the time of the sentencing a lot of people said it was too lenient and he should have been given longer for what he did.

“I was happy as all I wanted was for him to be in prison at Christmas so he could think about what he had done last Christmas and how he had ended up where he was.

“Now this won’t happen so I am very angry, frustrated and disappointed.

“The sentences for assaults on emergency workers has recently been increased but this, I feel, makes a mockery out of the sentencing and it shows no deterrent to others.”

Reacting to the news, Martin Plummer, chairman of Cumbria Police Federation said: “The recent release of this individual having only served 76 days of a 10-month prison sentence is nothing short of an insult to every officer in Cumbria Constabulary and the Police Service of England and Wales who work tirelessly 24/7 to protect the public.

“Those individuals that have no respect for themselves or the Police and the work they do must be given a punishment that fits the crime.

“The 10-month prison sentence seemed lenient but 76 days served of that sentence then released to the comfort of his home is an utter disgrace.

“It sends a clear message from the judicial system that they clearly do not support or respect the work of the emergency services.”

nMurray admitted assault causing actual bodily harm.