A THUG who tried to choke an off-duty police officer in a terrifying Metro train attack was jailed for two years.
Newcastle Crown Court was told Andrew Patterson, 29, was on bail for a brutal attack on his girlfriend when he grabbed the officer, who had asked him to stop smoking.
Patterson had been released on bail just weeks earlier after beating his partner so badly at their home in Washington that she needed blood drained from her lungs, and suffered a fractured eye socket.
Patterson had been remanded in custody while he waited to be sentenced, but was released in October so he could be assessed for an alcohol treatment programme.
A month later, he was travelling on the Metro from Sunderland when he was approached by a British Transport Police officer, who asked him not to smoke.
Neil Pallister, prosecuting, told the court the Metro attack happened on November 5 as the officer travelled from Sunderland to Newcastle to start his shift.
Patterson did not initially react when the officer showed him his warrant card, and asked him to put out the cigarette he was smoking.
Moments later, he started questioning whether the officer really worked for the police and started throwing punches at him.
Mr Pallister said: “At one point, he pinned the officer into a seat and placed both his hands on his throat and started to squeeze his windpipe, making it hard for him to breathe.
“It lasted a few seconds until he managed to get him off.”
The court heard the officer managed to phone colleagues for assistance, and Patterson was arrested when he got off the train at East Boldon.
The officer was left with a sore throat, and found swallowing difficult.
Mr Pallister said Patterson had attacked his girlfriend in May. He said: “She recalls being pulled around by the hair and punched and kicked about the face and body.”
The court heard the woman spent four days in hospital having fluid drained from her lungs, and had a catalogue of other injuries.
Patterson, now of Stonecrop, Gateshead, who has convictions for 109 previous offences, was remanded in custody after the attack, but granted bail on October 4. He admitted both assaults.
Judge James Goss QC jailed Patterson for two years, and said: “He has had his chance.”
He described the persistence in the Metro attack as “extraordinary”.
Tony Davis, defending, said Patterson had turned to drink that day because of a family crisis.
After the case, a British Transport Police spokeswoman said: “This was a vicious assault on an off-duty officer who was acting in the best interests of the other passengers.
“Violent acts like this are extremely rare on the rail network, and the jail term imposed in this case serves as a reminder of the serious consequences for those who think this behaviour is acceptable.”