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Man assaulting police officer and causing severe injuries walks free

A man who seriously assaulted a Sussex Police officer – leaving him with severe injuries including a broken eye socket and broken nose – has walked free from Crown Court with a suspended sentence.

Jonathan Beauchamp, 19, from Old Barn Way, Southwick, West Sussex, assaulted Sergeant Alec Barrett in Brighton last month.

Sgt Barrett was attempting to protect members of the public by stopping a fight in Brighton, when a man approached him from behind, taking a running punch at his face, punching him in the face again several times, seriously injuring him.

Sgt Barrett was taken to hospital, where he was told he had concussion, a broken eye socket, leading to bleeding in his sinuses, a broken nose and damage to his cheek.

Beauchamp was sentenced to a year, suspended for two years, at Lewes Crown Court on Tuesday, May 2nd. He admitted inflicting grievous bodily harm without intent at Brighton Magistrates Court last month.

Beauchamp was also ordered to carry out 120 hours unpaid work, attend 24 rehabilitation sessions, pay £2,000 in compensation and has been given a five-month curfew between 19:00 and 07:00.

The suspended sentence was described as “lenient” by the Sussex Police Federation.

“It’s been a reality check about the dangers of my job”

Following the attack, Sgt Barrett said: “I was in a vulnerable position on the ground when the man sucker-punched me from a position that I didn’t see coming.

“When I regained full consciousness, I looked up to try to work out what had happened as I knew I was defenceless, he then punched me again a few more times in the face whilst standing over me.

“My face is horrendously swollen, initially located around my eye, but now it’s around my cheek and one side of my face.

“I’ve been assaulted before, but I now find myself apprehensive about going back to work, especially operational duty, where I might be in the same position again, it’s affected me and my family who now worry about me going to work.”

He added: “It’s been a reality check about the dangers of my job. I’ve had calls from people in the force with good wishes and the Federation have supported me, lots of people have been in touch, which is a really nice gesture, and it is really appreciated”.

41,221 assaults on police officers in 2022

There were 41,221 assaults on police officers in England and Wales last year, according to Sussex Police Federation, which represents more than 20% annual national rise.

The numbers correspond to 793 assaults a week, 113 assaults every day, and more than 4 assaults every hours.

Sgt Raffaele Cioffi, Deputy Secretary of Sussex Police Federation, said: “This is a lenient sentence for a violent criminal whose cowardly attack on a defenceless police officer left him with serious injuries.

“Let’s not forget that Sgt Barrett was trying to protect members of the public and was violently attacked for doing so, he was lucky not to have been blinded.

“The Federation continues to call on the courts to do their bit and protect the protectors, custodial sentences are the strongest deterrent to stop these kinds of attacks – anything less does not protect us.

“Sadly, yet again, we see the courts going soft on violent crime, it’s an outrageous decision by the court and I fear officers will continue to be seriously injured until they take it seriously.”

He added: “The Government needs to take a strong stance against violent crime, we need to see action in the courts, not words. Until they do, violent criminals will continue to walk free as in this case, no real justice for victims. The Federation will continue to lobby the Government for a change in the sentencing guidelines for violent crime. I fear officers and members of the public will not be safe until this changes.”

(Source: BBC and Sussex Police Federation)

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