Claustrophobic defendant hit officer

A WIGAN man who resisted being placed in a police van because he is claustrophobic punched an officer, a court heard.

Andrew Ball, of St Davids Crescent, Aspull, pleaded guilty to assault and is now subject to a three-year conditional discharge.

The officer, who had been called to a reported domestic dispute in December of last year, suffered minor bruising after the strike to the side of the head.

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The 52-year-old was already subject to a conditional discharge order, relating to an assault conviction in November, and the latest offence meant he was punished for both.

A hearing at Wigan and Leigh Magistrates’ Court was told Ball shouted at the police officers telling them: “You’re not locking me up.”

He then resisted arrest and later told officers he did not want to go in the police van because he suffers from claustrophobia and was “scared to go in a small space”.

In the struggle one of the officer was punched to the left side of the head.

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Peter Moran, defending, said: “He admitted the offence and made admissions at interview. He was to be put in the back of a small van but he accepts that his behaviour was not acceptable.”

Ball received the conditional discharge and was ordered to pay £250 costs plus a £15 victim surcharge relating to a previous case.

The presiding magistrate said: “We are aware that you have already breached a conditional discharge so that is why this one has been imposed for three years. If you are brought back in it will reactivate this.”