South Shields thug launched 'unacceptable' headbutt attack on lone female police officer

A female South Shields police officer was subjected to a despicable attack while alone on duty by a drunk man who tried to head-butt her.

Wednesday, 26th June 2019, 6:15 pm
The attack happened in Stoddart Street in South Shields. Picture: Google Streetview

Barry Benge repeatedly kicked at PC Laura Sinclair as she tried to get handcuffs on him, forcing her to call for emergency backup.

Benge, 42, of Stoddart Street in South Shields, appeared at South Tyneside Magistrates’ Court and admitted assaulting an emergency worker in the June 10 incident.

Prosecutor Eve McDonnell said: “PC Sinclair attended an address in South Shields to speak to the defendant with regard to a domestic incident where the defendant had contacted the police several times making reports about his ex-partner.

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“He was clearly very drunk, not making sense.”

She took down some details and later left the Stoddart Street address.

However not long later police were called by Benge’s partner who told them that he was at her address kicking the front door.

When PC Sinclair arrived at her address Benge was not there, the court heard, so she returned to his home in Stoddart Street.

The prosecutor continued: “PC Sinclair then returned to Stoddart Street where the defendant allows her entrance to the property.

“He becomes aggressive. He tries to run into the kitchen.”

PC Sinclair stepped in front of him and pushed him back, trying to put handcuffs on him.

However he struggled and tried to stop her from arresting him.

PC Sinclair said in a statement: “Has grabbed my right wrist and tried to pull my hand away.

“The defendant has then curled his legs up and started kicking at me.”

She managed to get the handcuffs onto his right wrist but he continued to struggle, the court heard.

PC Sinclair said: “The defendant lunged forward at me trying to head-butt me.

“He was yelling ‘get off me’. I informed him I would use my CS gas.

“He lunged forward again trying to head-butt me.”

Benge only ceased his attack when PC Sinclair sprayed him in the face with her CS gas canister.

He stood up at her command and she was finally able to place the other handcuff on him.

PC Sinclair said: “I was simply executing my duty when I informed Benge that he was under arrest.

“He had known I was single he’s tried to overpower me by kicking me and trying to head-butt me.

“Fortunately due to my training and experience I was able to recognise his body language.

“I do not expect to be assaulted while performing this duty.”

Defence solicitor Joanne Gatens said: “He accepts that the police officer attends his home address and he accepts he was resisting her attempts to arrest him.

“He had contacted the police because [his partner] had retained his keys.

“He accepts that he doesn’t react in the manner that he should because he genuinely did not believe he had done anything wrong.”

She told the court that Benge’s kicks and attempts to head-butt were not deliberate attacks but were ‘more a continuation of attempting to stop her from arresting him’.

Chairman of the bench Gillian Charlton said: “This is totally unacceptable behaviour against a police officer.

“She was only doing her job.”

Benge was fined £80 and ordered to pay £85 costs, a £30 victim surcharge and £100 compensation to PC Sinclair.