Drunk who crippled policewoman at a Gloucester hotel walks free from court
A DRUNKEN man who crippled a policewoman when he fought to stop himself being arrested at a Gloucester hotel has walked free from court.
PC Catherine Fletcher suffered a spinal fracture as she and three other officers grappled to restrain and arrest drunken John Hanly.
Six months after the incident, she is still walking with crutches and it could be three to four years before she fully recovers – if she ever does, Gloucester Crown Court heard.
Hanly, a 46-year-old dad-of-three with no previous convictions, of Kingsley Walk, Grays, Essex, admitted assaulting PC Fletcher with intent to resist arrest at the Premier Inn Hotel, in Barnwood, on March 22.
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Judge William Hart sentenced him to 32 weeks' jail suspended for 15 months and placed him under a curfew from 9pm to 6am when he's not working as a maintenance fitter. The judge also ordered him to pay compensation of £7,500 to PC Fletcher, from Bristol.
Prosecutor Lisa Hennessy said Hanly flooded his hotel room when he left the plug in the bath. Staff moved him to another room and when he asked for compensation for the inconvenience, they said in fact they should charge him for the damage. He became confrontational.
"The receptionist called the police," Mrs Hennessy said.
Mrs Hennessy said four officers arrived and Hanly was arrested for being drunk and disorderly. He began fighting with the police.
"All the officers were around him and PC Fletcher was kneeling across his legs to stop him kicking out. He was struggling so forcefully that he managed to unbalance the officers and in the melee the other officers fell on PC Fletcher's left leg.
"Initially she was not too worried. As the day wore on the pain in her leg became unbearable and went to Gloucestershire Royal Hospital. It then became clear that her spine was fractured."
Sabia Pathan, in mitigation, said Hanly felt a "lasting remorse" about his actions.
Judge Hart said the maximum sentence he could pass for the offence of assault with intent to resist arrest was 51 weeks but he had to give Hanly full discount for pleading guilty.
"I suspect most right thinking people would think that wholly inappropriate in a case such as this," he said, adding that he was bound by the law.
Speaking after the case, PC Fletcher declined to comment on the sentence, but said: "I am just very grateful for the support of my friends during the last seven months, and now have a four-year recovery period ahead of me."