A MAN punched two police officers as they were giving him a lift home.
William Topping, 55, had been asked to leave South Tyneside District Hospital after being abusive to staff.
Police were called to the hospital and warned Topping about his behaviour before offering him a lift home.
He accepted, and asked to be taken to his brother’s house.
But after they started their journey, Topping swore, before leaping forward from the back seat of the police car, to punch the driver in the face.
A second officer, sitting next to Topping, was also struck in the face after trying to restrain him. Topping, of Bedford Avenue in South Shields, was given a 12-month community order.
He had pleaded guilty to two counts of assaulting a police officer at a previous hearing at South Tyneside Magistrates’ Court, and the case was adjourned until yesterday for a pre-sentence report.
Prosecutor Paul Anderson said: “He was in the back of the car with one of the officers.
“He leapt forward to punch the officer driving the car in the side of the face.
“The other officer intervened and he said ‘Do you want some as well?’ before punching her in the side of the face also.
“He was then handcuffed and arrested.”
When asked in the police station why he had attacked the police officers – after being asked to leave the hospital shortly after midnight on June 25 – Topping said he had become anxious and feared the officers were not driving in the right direction.
He said he hadn’t been drinking at the time, but felt his behaviour may have been due to medication he was taking.
Defending, Laura Johnson said: “He does apologise for his actions and says it will never happen again.”
District Judge Davinder Lachhar also ordered Topping to pay costs of £85.