Female police officer suffers fractured spine in hotel assault
POLICEWOMAN Catharine Fletcher may never return to front-line duty after her spine was fractured during an arrest in Gloucester.
The 38-year-old was thrown to the ground outside the Premier Inn in Barnwood by hotel guest John Hanly.
PC Fletcher and her colleagues were arresting him for being drunk and disorderly when he lashed out.
She ended up on the floor with a "bundle" of people on top of her and spent two months in hospital.
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She said: "He was struggling so violently it took three people to restain him.
"I was doing my job but you never expect it to end up with injuries like this."
The mother-of-three from Bristol is still awaiting an operation for a trapped nerve and said the violent attack had been "catastrophic" on her personal and professional life.
She said: "This has had life changing consequences for me and my family and my job.
"I love my job but have had to have six months off and may never be able to return to front line policing.
"I still can't walk properly and am in a lot of pain."
Hanly, of Kingsley Walk, Grays, Essex, admitted assault at Gloucester Crown Court yesterday.
He pleaded not guilty to causing grievous bodily harm to the officer with intent to prevent arrest on March 22 this year. But he admitted assault with intent to resist arrest and his pleas were accepted by prosecutor Lisa Hennessy.
"This is a matter of resisting arrest which turned into an incredibly serious and life-changing injury to the officer," said Mrs Hennessy.
Recorder Stephen Hall QC bailed Hanly for a pre-sentence report to be prepared.
He told him all sentencing options will be open to the court when he is sentenced on October 12.
At an earlier hearing, the court was told that PC Fletcher's future "looks bleak indeed" as a result of her injury.
It is alleged that Mr Hanly had become drunk and belligerent at the hotel and that police were called when the bath in his room overflowed and he did nothing to stop it.
Dermot Clarke, defending, told the court yesterday that Hanly is a man of previous good character.