A homeless Derbyshire man smashed a police car window and elbowed an officer as he was arrested. Police needed handcuffs and leg restraints to subdue Brett Morris as they tried to arrest him for breaching a restraining order on January 20 this year in Lime Grove, Darley Dale, after he had lunged at an officer who was talking to him and kicked through a police car window.
He had earlier elbowed an officer in the face and inflicted a hand injury. Kevin Jones, prosecuting, told Derby Crown Court on Wednesday, April 13, that the incident on January 20 followed similar offending from December 10, 2020.
Mr Jones said that on that occasion, Morris, 37, who was banned from Lime Grove in May 2020 for two years for unrelated matters, drunkenly decided to visit a friend on the estate, which meant he was in breach of his restraining order. Despite not coming into contact with the person protected by the order, he later got into a drunken row with the person who invited him to the estate and pushed him into a cabinet, leaving them needing five stitches above their eye in an assault occasioning actual bodily harm.
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When Morris, of no fixed abode, returned to the estate in January 2021 – again in breach of his restraining order – police recognised him as a wanted man and tried to arrest him, which led to the assault on the police officer and damage to the car. Morris, who had 15 previous convictions for 31 offences, had been found guilty of ABH in a trial at Southern Derbyshire Magistrates’ Court and pleaded guilty at the same trial to one of the two counts of breaching a restraining order.
He also pleaded guilty to the second count of breaching the order, and individual counts of criminal damage and assaulting an emergency worker. Joe Harvey, mitigating, said in his client’s defence that he never came into contact with the beneficiary of the restraining order, adding that Morris went to the Lime Grove area as it was where he was brought up.
He said: “Brett Morris is a 37-year-old man who has a life-long connection with the Lime Tree Grove estate. That is the estate that he grew up on – it has family and friends and his entire support network. He had been living on that street when the restraining order was imposed and effectively at that time he was homeless.
“Mr Morris was there having been invited. There was an argument, fuelled by alcohol. This was an impulsive, spontaneous and short-lived assault.
“He is now serving the longest period of time he has ever spent in custody and is struggling to cope. He has only done sentences before that which are measurable in weeks.
“It is something he is not enjoying. He has asked me to relay his remorse and he has had plenty of thinking time while in custody.”
Sentencing Morris to a total of 10 months in prison, Judge Nirmal Shant QC, Honorary Recorder of Derby, said: “Although the breach did not result with you having contact with the person it was intended to protect, there was nonetheless an assault on a constable. What I am going to do is, in respect of the breach of the restraining order, pass a sentence that reflects the totality. You have got a very bad record for offences of violence and public order.”
Judge Shant sentenced Morris to consecutive four-month prison sentences for breaching his restraining order on January 20 and assault occasioning ABH on December 10, and a consecutive two-month jail term for breaching his order on December 10.
He was given concurrent eight-week and four-week sentences for assaulting an emergency worker and criminal damage respectively. Time already spent in custody will be taken off the sentence and Morris must also pay a victim surcharge, while the existing restraining order remains in place.