A Clitheroe teenager who attacked two police officers on a drunken night out escaped with a £200 fine – because magistrates don’t want him to mix with criminals.
Nathan Marden could have been sent to an attendance centre or been given unpaid work, after the early hours violence in Burnley town centre.
PC Andrew Donoghue’s mouth had immediately filled with blood after Marden hit him in the face. The officer suffered a deep cut to his bottom lip which went through to the inside of his mouth, two deep cuts to his top lip and was in severe pain from his jaw.
The town’s magistrates heard how 19-year-old Marden, of The Crescent, had been detained by PC Raees Patel after an altercation in a bar and had repeatedly thrown punches at him. He got away and was trying to run off, chased by PC Donoghue, when he turned and struck the officer. PC Donoghue later went to hospital. He had difficulty eating, drinking and talking and had to take time off work.
Ground worker Marden, described by his solicitor as having been “blotto” was said to have been close to tears when he was interviewed. He said he had felt strange and depressed after downing many pints of lager and remembered nothing about the assaults.
Mrs Tracy Yates (prosecuting) said security staff at the bar had flagged down police and pointed Marden out.
She said PC Donoghue joined the police in 2017 and fully expected he would have to deal with violent people. “However,” she continued: “This incident has left him shocked and he describes it as an eye-opener. He says it was unprovoked and he finds it difficult to understand why he would be assaulted when he was just doing his job.”
Mrs Yates told the court the defendant said he was extremely sorry when questioned. She went on: “He would like to meet them( the officers ) face-to-face to say how sorry he is.”
Mr Stuart Kaufman (defending) told the hearing: “He describes during the interview that it was all a blur. He can remember very little about it but he accepts the officers weren’t going to lie.”
Mr Kaufman said Marden turned and hit the officer in the mouth when a vehicle blocked his path. The lawyer went on: “He has not gone out as much since and when he has gone out he has drunk a lot, lot less. He is as apologetic as you can get.”
Probation officer Ben Fryer, who interviewed the defendant, said Marden had started drinking at 4pm.
Mr Fryer said the defendant had found his father dead in the garden when he was 12 years old. The officer continued: “It appears to have been a very traumatic time in his life. He states he can use alcohol as a coping mechanism, but it would appear he hasn’t got an alcohol problem. He has never sought help for depression. He has isolated himself to deal with grief.
“I do feel we will never see him before the court again. At an attendance centre he would be mixing with people with pro-criminal attitudes.”
Sentencing, the chairman told Marden: “You are of exemplary character. We can see that here today. To put you in an attendance centre or on unpaid work, where you would mix with people we don’t want you to mix with, would be disastrous.”
The defendant admitted two counts of police assault, on June 3rd. He was fined £200 and was ordered to pay PC Donoghue £100 compensation.