A MAN who claimed to be a professional boxer punched a female police officer in the face after she attempted to handcuff him, a court heard.

After knocking the officer to the floor, John Daniel Barnes, 29, began “bouncing around the room” saying he was a professional boxer before officers tasered and arrested him.

Oriana Frame, prosecuting, said PC Sarah Thompson had attended an address in Spennymoor shortly after midnight on Thursday, November 14, when she was approached by Barnes smelling strongly of alcohol.

She said: “The defendant was being increasingly obstructive and repeatedly saying police did not need to be there, telling them to leave.

“He was being verbally abusive and intimidating with his body language and as she went to place handcuffs on him he threw a punch with full force at her face.

“He continued to shout, saying that he was a professional boxer, and acting in an extremely aggressive manner.

“She described it as a very hard punch from a man who clearly did not care who he hurt.”

In a statement read out during the hearing, PC Thompson said: “I have been a serving officer for four years and I have never been the victim of such a violent attack. Whilst writing this I am in a lot of pain. Once the incident was brought under control I immediately burst into tears.

“I appreciate that this role comes with risks but I don’t expect to be violently attacked whilst carrying out my duties.”

Barnes, of Hall Lane Estate, Willington, near Crook, pleaded guilty to assault by beating of an emergency worker, common assault of an emergency worker and using threatening and abusive behaviour to cause alarm and distress.

Elizabeth Aisbitt, mitigating, said: “A family meeting had been called to discuss childhood traumas that he was subject to, he had turned to alcohol as a coping mechanism in the run up to that.

“Mr Barnes has severe difficulties with physical contact and he suffers with mental health issues. He has been diagnosed with schizophrenia and PTSD.

“He’s not using it as an excuse but wants to explain his behaviour."

Magistrates ordered a pre-sentence report from probation before passing sentence on Barnes, who is due back at Newton Aycliffe Magistrates’ Court on December 10.