A DRUNKEN man has narrowly escaped jail after spitting blood in the face of a police officer.

Scott Connor was drunk and covered in blood from a head injury when he was found by a police officer in Brinkburn Road, Darlington, on December 7 last year.

The 22-year-old was taken by the officer to Darlington Memorial Hospital where he began to scream and shout before banging his head against a wall, the town’s magistrates heard.

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Prosecutor Graham Jacobs said Connor was put in a police van to calm down, but he continued to bang his head against the side of the vehicle, causing it to bleed even more.

After becoming more excitable, Connor then spat a mouth full of blood in the officer’s face, some of which went into his mouth.

The officer has since had to undergo a number of medical examinations to test for infections.

Mitigating Warren Ridley said the assault was out of character and Connor was extremely ashamed of his actions.

He said: “Mr Connor fully accepts the seriousness of the offences. He has very little memory of what happened.

“He accepts he was out drinking to excess and for some reason unknown to himself he began to self-harm.

“He has a good work ethic, he is currently employed and in a stable relationship. You have someone who has shown remorse.”

Connor, of Harrison Terrace, Darlington, admitted being drunk and disorderly, assaulting a police constable in execution of their duty and failing to surrender to police bail at an earlier hearing and returned to court today (Thursday, January 23) for sentencing.

Sentencing him to six weeks in prison, suspended for 12 months, chairman of the bench, Colin Beadle, told Connor: “This is a most despicable and dangerous act against a police officer in the execution of his duty.

“They escorted you to hospital, which is their duty, and there you behaved in a disorderly and disgraceful manner.”

Connor was also ordered to complete 80 hours of unpaid work and pay £200 in compensation to the officer, an £80 victim surcharge and £85 costs.