‘Wretched’ Workington man was aggressive to police officer and Doorman, Jailed for 9 Months

A WEST Cumbrian man described as a “wretched character” by his defence barrister has admitted assaulting a police officer and possessing an offensive weapon.

Daniel Irving, 36, became aggressive when he was refused entry to a Workington bar, threatening to stab the doorman with a key, Carlisle Crown Court heard.

He then headbutted the police officer who was attempting to arrest him.

But the defendant avoided an immediate jail term after his barrister told a judge that jailing Irving would amount to the “sheer destruction” of his ongoing attempts to rehabilitate himself and improve his mental health.

Prosecutor Isabella Denn-White said Irving committed the offences on the morning of Saturday, October 14 last year when he became involved in an altercation with door staff at a bar. Staff were refusing to let him into the premises because of his behaviour.

It was at this point, as he held the key between the knuckles of one hand, that he made the threat to stab the doorman, telling him: “I know where you live.”

His behaviour did not improve when a police officer arrived and tried to handcuff Irving. “He resisted and headbutted the officer to the right side of the jaw, causing pain,” said the barrister.

The defendant later said he could not recall doing this, due to alcohol or drugs.

In a statement, the police officer said he had not expected Irving to be violent. “I don’t expect to be assaulted as part of this job,” he said.

The court heard that Irving, of Queen Street, Siddick, Workington, has 30 previous offences on his record, including two convictions for having offensive weapons. He has also previously been prosecuted for assaulting police officers and resisting arrest.

“He’s something of a wretched character,” said defence barrister Brendan Burke.

When Irving was out and about in Workington, said the barrister, he would respond to “perceived threats or danger.” He was also bullied on social media. But in recent months he had responded positively to the help was offered.

He had worked with a recovery team and his GP and an organisation that helps men who are struggling with their mental health.

Jailing Irving in the light of those ongoing efforts, said Mr Burke, would remove him from circulation for a short while but also amount to “an act of sheer destruction.”

Judge Nicholas Barker told the defendant: “Nobody goes to work to be assaulted, particularly those who perform a public service such as the police.”

The judge said the defendant’s previous weapons offences meant he was at risk of a six-month minimum jail term, but he noted Mr Burke’s submissions, characterising Irving as a wretched soul who now working to combat his mental health problems.

He also considered the defendant’s presentation and that the weapon involved was a key.

“Overall, I am persuaded by the narrowest of margins,” continued the judge, “that there is a tenable argument that there is exceptional justification to step away from the mandatory minimum sentence.”

He imposed nine months jail, suspended for 18 months, with 15 rehabilitation activity days.” Judge Barker told Irving that he must understand the need for him to comply with the sentence – otherwise the whole sentence will have to be served.

As he left the dock, the defendant, who was at times in tears, said: “Yes, Your Honour. I’m sorry.”

Source – News and Star