Pepper-sprayed Hereford driver threatened to kill sergeant

A DRIVER was pepper sprayed after punching police who were called to his broken-down car.

Richard Cuthbertson admitted assaulting a police officer acting in the course of their duties by beating and using threatening and abusive words or behaviour when he appeared before magistrates in Hereford.

Police were called to Whitecross Road at around 10.30pm on October 23 after ambulance staff became concerned that Cuthbertson had been drink-driving, prosecutor Ralph Robyns Landricombe said.

Officers asked Cuthbertson for a breath sample, but he became verbally aggressive and the breath tester ended up being thrown on the floor, the court heard.

Cuthbertson was arrested for failing to provide a sample, but actively resisted police as they tried to take hold of him, punching one of the officers in the jaw.

Cuthbertson was then punched in the back by the officer, pepper sprayed, and taken to the floor, while shouting and swearing at police.

Backup was called as Cuthbertson continued to shout abuse at officers, threatening to find a sergeant’s house and kill him.

In police interview, Cuthbertson said he had been driving home from Kington when his Land Rover’s steering ‘went wobbly’ and steam started coming from under the bonnet.

A passing ambulance had stopped by and then police arrived, but, he said, he was feeling paranoid as no warrant cards had been shown to him and he was suffering from mental health issues.

He said he felt he had been provoked by police but that he regretted threatening to kill one of the officers.

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Chris Read, for Cuthbertson, said the 53-year-old had passed a breath test at the police station.

“He says he felt very vulnerable and was approached by police wearing black. He did not know who they were and things very quickly escalated,” Mr Read said.

“He suffered much worse injuries than the police. His face had a number of cuts and his nose was bleeding when I saw him in the police station.

“He was handcuffed and pepper sprayed while being restrained by two officers, one of whom was twice his size. This was not an attempt to assault anyone, but a struggle with a number of officers who had thrown him on the floor and effectively blinded him.”

Cuthbertson, of Yarlington Mill, Belmont, was fined a total of £900 and ordered to pay compensation of £100 to one officer, and £50 to the sergeant.

He must also pay costs of £185 and a £90 victim surcharge.

Hereford Times