Drunk who spat at police jailed

A DRUNKEN Ipswich man who demanded money from a man before stealing food and spitting in the faces of two police officers in jail today.Carl McLaughlin, 21, was sentenced to an 18-month prison stretch by a judge at Ipswich Crown Court after previously pleading guilty to affray, theft and two counts of common assault.

A DRUNKEN Ipswich man who demanded money from a man before stealing food and spitting in the faces of two police officers in jail today.

Carl McLaughlin, 21, was sentenced to an 18-month prison stretch by a judge at Ipswich Crown Court after previously pleading guilty to affray, theft and two counts of common assault.

The court heard how McLaughlin had been drinking throughout the day on December 23 last year when he spotted a man walking along Hadleigh Road.

Luke Brown, prosecuting, said he approached the man and asked him if he had any money. The man said 'no' and went to walk on.

Mr Brown said: "The victim said he had no money but the defendant told him he must have some on him. The defendant walked in front of the victim and prevented him from walking past and then asked 'would you like a punch in the face?'

"The victim turned and ran towards McDonalds where he thought there would be people around with the defendant running behind."

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Police later picked McLaughlin up outside the Sainsbury's supermarket in Hadleigh Road where they found he had stolen chocolates and an egg and cress wrap from the store.

Mr Brown said: "A police officer arrested him but the defendant was continually swearing.

"At one stage the defendant turned to face one of the police officers and spat directly at him hitting him in the face. While he was being put in the van, Mr McLaughlin spat at the second officer, hitting him in the face and upper lip."

It emerged that McLaughlin, who has a string of previous convictions including several prison sentences, was on bail at the time of the offence.

Mitigating, Joanne Eley said: "He is on medication. He has been prescribed anti-depressants.

"He tells me he has little recollection of what went on and can't really remember what happened."

She said during December, McLaughlin had been drinking heavily, consuming up to eight cans of strong lager a day.

"He does accept he has a problem with alcohol and he has participated in an alcohol awareness course.

"The assaults on the officers were very unpleasant but he has managed to apologise to the officer on duty.

"He is motivated to try to change his behaviour and he doesn't want to spend the rest of his life in prison. He says he wants to stop all this silliness and grow up."

Sentencing, judge David Goodin told McLaughlin he was acquiring an "unenviable record" for a young man.

He said: "The more often you repeat it, the more serious it becomes. The most serious offence is the affray. You put your victim in fear by your actions.

"You then reverted to type and assaulted police officers by spitting at them and all this was done while you were on bail."

McLaughlin was sentenced to 18 months in total for the four offences.

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