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Drunk punched police in river rescue

PUBLISHED: 18:31 23 December 2008 | UPDATED: 12:48 09 March 2010

A DRUNKEN night out, a pocket knife, a desperate rescue attempt from a river and a muddy fight with police officers were a catastrophic combination for one man.

A DRUNKEN night out, a pocket knife, a desperate rescue attempt from a river and a muddy fight with police officers were a catastrophic combination for one man.

Christopher Crabtree, of Newnham Court, Ipswich is today awaiting punishment after he punched an officer who was trying to help him off the banks of the River Gipping.

He had been walking alongside the river with his 27-year-old brother, who has a mental age of seven, and a friend at around 1.20am on December 9 when they fell in the water.

Crabtree, 25, admitted he was “leathered” after drinking eight pints and tried to rescue his brother and a friend with a rope while being taunted by onlookers.

When unsuccessful, Crabtree called the police for help.

When officers arrived, Crabtree was incensed because he thought they had taken 45 minutes when in fact they were on the scene in around seven minutes.

He also accused the officers of not acting quickly enough to help them from the river.

Lesla Small, prosecuting at South East Suffolk Magistrates' Court on Wednesday, said: “Crabtree was acting in an aggressive manner and being abusive to Pc Ironside.

“The bank was muddy and slippery. He was asked to calm down and move away from the bank.

“He squared up to Pc Ironside's face. He was pushed back and told to calm down. He called Pc Ironside a coward and said the officers were a waste of space.

“The officers took hold of Crabtree but he broke free and punched Pc Gill in the face, knocking his glasses hard into his face. The officer suffered swelling where he was struck.”

When they got him to the police van in Princes Street, officers found a pocket knife on him.

Crabtree admitted assaulting a police officer and possessing a knife in a public place.

Mark Holt, mitigating, said: “He overestimated the time it took the officers to arrive and it appeared members of the public thought it was a funny experience and were taunting him and his brother.”

Magistrates granted Crabtree conditional bail until a sentencing hearing on January 13.

Do police officers get enough respect? Write to Your Letters, The Evening Star, 30 Lower Brook Street, Ipswich, IP4 1AN or send us an e-mail to eveningstarletters@eveningstar.co.uk


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