Binge drinker who spat in PC’s face was ‘screaming out for help’

Burnley Magistrates Court.

Burnley Magistrates Court.

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A troubled binge drinker spat in a policewoman’s face and called a female custody sergeant a “lesbian” after she was arrested for being abusive in the street, a court heard.

Ex-supermarket worker Elizabeth Jane Haworth (27) threatened to kill officers, called them ugly and used “distasteful” words, during an outburst at Burnley police station.

As Haworth was being taken to the cells by PC Mikaela Peacock, she turned and spat in the officer’s face. PC Peacock was left covered in spittle and fearing she might contract a disease after the attack, which Haworth herself later described, when sober, as “disgusting”.

Haworth had been found in St James Street, Brierfield, in the early hours, screaming and shouting in the back of a car which had been reported stolen. Officers had not wanted to arrest her at that stage and had tried to take her back to the top of the street, but she had continued to be insulting.

The hearing, at Burnley Magistrates’ Court, was told just eight days later, the defendant was again arrested after police were called to reports of a woman causing problems in the middle of the street. By the time officers had arrived, she was being abusive. She was in breach of a conditional discharge, imposed in August last year, for being drunk and disorderly.

The defendant was said to be “screaming out for help,” by a court probation officer, who said she was not coping and was using alcohol as a crutch

Haworth, of Morse Street, Burnley, admitted being drunk and disorderly in Colne Road, Brierfield, and police assault on May 20th and being drunk and disorderly in Woodbine Road, Burnley, on May 28th.

She was given a 12-month community order, with a 30-day rehabilitation activity requirement. She was fined £30, with an £85 victim surcharge and £85 costs and was ordered to pay PC Peacock £100 compensation.

Mr Andrew Robinson (prosecuting) said PC Peacock had never been spat at before and hoped it was the last time.

Mr Nick Cassidy, in mitigation, said Haworth was “particularly unwell” and vulnerable. She had battled for about seven years with a number of mental health issues.

The solicitor said to compound matters, the defendant had been the victim of “some of the most serious offences that can be committed against a person”. Haworth, who had tried to get help with her issues, had started to binge drink in the last 12 months. She had now registered for trauma counselling.

Mr Cassidy added: ”Through me, she formally apologises and if she had the opportunity she would apologise in person to the officer.”