'I'd rather be spat at than punched'

A DISTRICT judge concluded he would “rather be spat at” than punched as he deliberated on a sentencing.

James Hore

A DISTRICT judge concluded he would “rather be spat at” than punched as he deliberated on a sentencing.

District Judge David Cooper was sitting at Colchester Magistrates' Court on Thursday when the case of Richard Westbrooke came up.

Westbrooke, of London Road, Colchester , pleaded guilty to assault on a police officer on April 4.

The 30-year-old had been arrested on an unrelated offence and taken to Colchester police station and became aggressive when he was being “booked in”.

Westbrooke refused to take his watch off so three officers came into his cell to remove it.

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The court heard how he was “punched” by one of the officers and admitted throwing a punch back.

But Westbrooke denied spitting at a police officer, saying he would not do that, but admitted the physical blow.

District Judge Cooper mused: “Which would I rather? Someone spit at me, or someone punch me?

He concluded: “I think I would rather be spat at,” before sentencing Westbrooke to 40 hours unpaid work in the community.