Sunderland thug jailed for spitting blood in police officers' faces

A thug who spat blood in the faces of two police officers has been jailed for eight months.

Monday, 15th February 2016, 4:09 pm
Updated Monday, 15th February 2016, 4:15 pm
Tony Edgerton

Tony Michael Edgerton, 24, was in breach of a suspended sentence for intimidating a witness at the time of the assault when he was arrested for abusive behaviour towards ambulance staff.

Newcastle Crown Court heard that an ambulance crew were called to the centre of South Shields on August 28 last year and pulled up beside Edgerton - mistakenly believing he was the person they had been called out for.

Bridie Smurthwaite, prosecuting, said that Edgerton - who had been out drinking with friends - became annoyed that the crew had pulled him over and began hurling abuse at them.

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She said: “The ambulance crew began driving away after the defendant began shouting abuse. He then began shouting at them saying he was going to put a complaint in.

“They once again pulled over to speak to him and he became more agitated and hit the ambulance and swung a punch at the ambulance crew.”

Police were called to Ocean Road at 3.15am and Edgerton was initially calm with the arresting officers and complied when they handcuffed him and put him in the van.

Ms Smurthwaite added: “Once in the van the defendant again became very aggressive and began lashing out so much that the van had to be stopped.

“He was eventually taken to the cells but he refused to remove his jacket and began shouting that he had done nothing wrong.

“The officers involved in restraining him said that the defendant was frothing at the mouth and tried to bite the knee of one of them. He was described as being extremely drunk and very strong.”

After managing to calm Edgerton down the officers loosened his handcuffs after he complained they were hurting him.

It was then that Edgerton spat blood and saliva on the faces of two police constables that were trying to restrain him.

The court heard that the victims felt physically sick and were scared at the thought of being infected with something contagious.

Edgerton, of Toward Road, in Hendon, claimed he had not taken any drugs and was aggravated as he felt he had done nothing wrong.

Lee Fish, defending, said Edgerton - who pleaded guilty to breach of a suspended sentenced and two counts of assaulting of assaulting a constable at a previous hearing - was a young man who had a very chaotic and unstable life.

He said: “Of course this young man has placed himself in a very precarious position but he does feel that at one stage having up to eight police officers restrain him was unnecessary.

“Unfortunately for him he has once again demonstrated an inability to control his temper.

“To spit at someone is a disgusting form of assault and he appreciates that.”

Edgerton - who has 30 convictions for 39 offences, including two for assaulting police officers - was jailed for eight months and had to be physically restrained by court security after kicking the dock and lashing out.

Mr Recorder Palmer said: “On this occasion police were faced with dealing with you when you had been extremely aggressive.

“I have watched CCTV footage of them restraining you and they were doing their best to keep you and themselves safe.

“You spat in their faces which was extremely unpleasant and I believe a custodial sentence can be the only option.”