A CARLISLE police officer has told a court of the health fears she experienced after a suspect rammed his fingers into her mouth during a struggle.

The police officer was assaulted as she tried to search 34-year-old Lee Brown, whose lawyer blamed his violent behaviour on trauma caused by the death of the defendant’s pregnant wife.

In a struggle, Brown had grabbed the officer’s face, but he was eventually subdued after other police officers came to their colleague’s aid, using their pava spray on him.

At the city’s Rickergate Magistrates’ Court, Brown, of Nelson Street, Denton Holme, admitted two police assaults, failing to provide a breath specimen for analysis, and possessing the class B drug known as plant food.

John Moran, prosecuting, outlined the first offences on March 20. Police spotted the defendant standing next to his vehicle, and suspected he had been drink driving. “They asked him to provide a breath specimen and he refused,” said Mr Moran.

As the officers tried to put the defendant into a police van, he resisted, pushing at the door and pushing the officer to the upper body, though there was no injury. At the police station, Brown continued to refuse to cooperate with the drink drive procedure.

On May 7, the police were asked to check on the defendant’s welfare and during this a young police officer tried to search him.

“He then grabbed hold of her, using his elbow to try to assault her,” said Mr Moran. At the same time, Brown grabbed hold of another officer’s leg. It was during the struggle that Brown grabbed the officer’s face.

That officer later said: “The defendant grabbed hold of my face, placing his fingers inside my mouth, using force while doing this.” She was unable to breath properly, she said.

Later, the officer said: “I go to work to do my job - a job I love. I wear my uniform with pride and I don’t come to work to be assaulted. I don’t come to work to have somebody put their fingers inside my mouth to assault me.”

Given the pandemic, she was left wondering whether he was infected or had any other medical condition. In 18 months as an officer, she had never faced anything like that and was left fearful, she said.

Anthony Wilson, for Brown, said bereavement was the catalyst for the defendant’s behaviour as his pregnant wife died last year. “He has no support network,” said the lawyer, calling the bereavement “powerful mitigation”.

Brown was diagnosed with post-traumatic stress, and referred for counselling.

Mr Wilson added: “You can only imagine what’s been going through his head in the last year. He’s not had assistance from any authorities, particularly given the coronavirus situation and his mental health has taken a massive dive as a result. He apologises to the officer concerned.”

Magistrates imposed eight weeks jail, suspending the sentence for a year, Brown must complete 30 days of rehabilitation, and pay £85 costs, £149 victim surcharge, and £50 compensation to the police officer. He was banned from driving for 36 months.