Father-of-four tries to gouge police officer's eye after 12-hour drinking session

The defendant has more than 50 offences on his record.
The defendant has more than 50 offences on his record.

A thug tried to gouge out a police officer's eye when he got drunk after watching his little girl's nativity play, a court heard.


Dad-of-four, Leigh Jarvis, pressed his thumb into PC Matthew Hartup's eye after pushing him and lunging at him at Greenbank Police Station in Blackburn. The self-employed builder, who has a long record for booze-fuelled violence, had gone on a 12-hour drinking session after attending the Christmas performance at his daughter's school, Burnley magistrates were told.

He was arrested at a pub in Colne where he was found asleep in the early hours. Jarvis was abusive to police and told them: "Go on and do one." He ended up being PAVA sprayed, taken into custody, and being taken to the floor so police could restrain him.

Jarvis, also a part-time fishmonger, has more than 50 offences on his record including assault, battery, and public disorder. His last conviction was in June 2014, when he was jailed for three years for torching his pregnant partner's home when he smashed his way in after downing 30 cans of lager.

The former B&Q worker, of Thorneyholme Square in Roughlee, Burnley, admitted being drunk and disorderly on Albert Road in Colne and police assault last December 16th. Jarvis, formerly of Earby, was given a 12-month community order, with 100 hours unpaid work and must pay £85 costs, an £85 victim surcharge, and £50 compensation.

Prosecutor Mrs Tracy Yates told the hearing police were called to the Crown pub in Colne at around 12.50am because Jarvis refused to leave. He was slumped on a sofa and appeared to be asleep.

He was woken up and was asked to go, did, but then went back into the pub, was abusive, was warned about his behaviour, and started gesticulating and throwing his arms around.

Mrs Yates said at the police custody office Jarvis pushed the officer. She continued: "The officer managed to keep hold of Mr Jarvis's arm. He was still trying to lunge at the officer and he was taken to the floor. Mr Jarvis put his thumb down in the officer's eye, as if he was trying to gouge it out."

Mr Vaqas Latif, defending, said Jarvis started drinking around noon to 1pm at a restaurant he had gone to measure up for building work and didn't really have any recollection of events after that.

The solicitor continued: "He's very sorry for the offence. All he can remember at the police station is just his eyes hurting from the PAVA spray. "

Mr Latif said Jarvis, who had had time to reflect in prison, had moved from Earby, where he was hanging around with the wrong crowd, to a quiet area. The solicitor told the court: "He has let himself down on this night, by getting drunk. He is completely remorseful. He is very, very sorry for being here again in court."