A driver who spat at a police officer after being arrested was ‘rushing home to aid his pregnant girlfriend’, a court heard.
Appearing at Swindon Magistrates’ Court on Friday, Daniel Clarke, 23, pleaded guilty to failing to provide a specimen of blood for analysis, assaulting an emergency worker by beating and possession of class B drug cannabis.
Crown prosecutor Keith Ballinger said the defendant, of Grouse Road, Calne, was stopped by PC Harding on the A3102 in Lyneham after he clocked his Vauxhall Corsa travelling at 54mph in a 40mph zone on 19 December last year.
He followed the vehicle for a short distance before signalling for it to pull over. It sped up and tried to overtake another car, but soon stopped for the officer.
Clarke exited his Corsa shouting “I’ve got to get to my partner, she’s gone into labour”, or words to that effect. PC Harding moved him from the middle of the carriageway before carrying out a roadside drugs wipe – which came back as positive for cannabis.
He’s then arrested and placed into the back of the police car. The defendant is said to have become aggressive and tried to get out of the car by standing up and climbing over the front seats.
When an officer opens the door to remove him from the vehicle, he charges out in a getaway bid before being taken to the floor where he is restrained by several officers – including PC Andrew Lee. Clarke continues to struggle on the ground.
The defendant then spat towards PC Lee, hitting him on the trouser leg.
Officers recovered cannabis from his vehicle. When officers request a blood sample from him following his earlier drugs wipe result, he refused.
The court heard Clarke was previously convicted of drug driving in April 2018
Defence solicitor Richard Williams said his client “is a relatively young man, turning 23 yesterday”.
Adding: “He bitterly regrets the way he acted. He doesn’t wish to minimise his behaviour… he accepts he has an underlying cannabis issue he wishes to address.
“Mr Clarke is aware these are very serious matters… his first question to me was will he go to prison?”
Mr Williams told the court his client was on his way home from working as a scaffolder after he’d received a phone call from his pregnant girlfriend telling him she was in pain. He believed she was having difficulties, possibly early labour.
Referring to the assault on PC Lee, Mr Williams said Clarke’s act was not a deliberate one – he claims he was struggling for breath whilst being restrained and needed to “get phlegm out of his mouth”.
“He’s in work, lives with his mother and suffers from anxiety and depression. This matter has caused him to re-think and re-evaluate his cannabis use, especially now he is the father of a young daughter”, he added.
Magistrates imposed a 12-month community order on Clarke, with 20 rehabilitation activity requirement days and 120 hours unpaid work. He was disqualified from driving for 36 months.
He was also ordered to pay £50 compensation to PC Lee, £85 costs and a £95 victim surcharge.