A MECHANIC who assaulted two police officers in a drunken rage – biting one so hard it went through his shirt and left teeth marks on his skin – has been spared an immediate jail term.
Jamie Munnik (26), was blasted by a judge at Southampton Crown Court for the “shameful episode” that saw him target PCs Dan Tuckey and Lauren Miller in New Milton.
Prosecutor Edward Elton said PC Miller and another colleague came across an in-drink, shirtless and agitated Munnik walking along Manor Road as the officers responded to a domestic disturbance alert one night last November.
After speaking to Munnik, who was with his partner, they decided to arrest him but he became aggressive. PC Tuckey then arrived in a marked police van to give assistance as Munnik’s behaviour worsened.
“He was shouting things like ‘f*** off’ and ‘get the f*** off me’,” Mr Elton said, adding Munnik was taken to the ground but manoeuvred his legs and kicked out at PC Miller, causing her to fall backwards and hit her head against the van.
“While she was recovering, she heard PC Tuckey say ‘don’t bite me’. He [Munnik] was shouting things like ‘I’m going to kill you, you ginger c***’,” the prosecutor added.
As Munnik and PC Tuckey struggled, Munnik twice bit the officer. The first was a bite on the ankle and the second was on the stomach, pierced the officer’s shirt and left a mark, although it did not break the skin.
Mr Elton said it required PC Tuckey to do a series of blood tests and take antibiotics. He read out a victim personal statement from the officer, in which he said: “I have been a police officer for 18 years and a frontline one for most of it, but I’ve only been assaulted a few times.
“These injuries are among the worst I have received,” he stated, adding that his two young children, aged eight and six, had been “shocked” by them.
Acknowledging public service workers went out to help others and put themselves in “harm’s way”, the officer said: “It does not mean we should be subjected to being assaulted more than any member of the public.
“I would like the offender to know what he did was not acceptable. There is no excuse for this type of behaviour.”
Munnik, who had three previous convictions for non-violent matters, appeared before the court having admitted charges of assault occasioning actually bodily harm and battery on an emergency worker at a previous hearing.
Defence barrister David Freeland handed a raft of letters to the court, including one Munnik had sent both officers in which he apologised for his behaviour.
He explained the motor mechanic had taken a period of unpaid leave and sought help to tackle his alcohol intake and to counter his social anxiety.
Munnik had also been honest with his employers, who had kept him on but downgraded his responsibilities and he can no longer oversee MOTs, the barrister said. In a letter to the court his employer described Munnik as “honest, hard-working, polite and conscientious”.
Explaining the background to the offending, Mr Freeland said his client had been hosting a family event at his Woodvale Garden home in New Milton when a dispute broke out between his partner and her sister, and Munnik had been assaulted.
Because of that Munnik had removed himself from the property and was walking along the road when the police came, which explained Munnik’s emotional state, Mr Freeland said.
Pleading for his client to keep his liberty, the barrister said Munnik had two young children and would lose his job and income if he went to jail. Munnik’s background was a “little troubled” but he had a stable job and had not offended since he was 16.
Judge Richard Davison said: “It was, as you now realise, an absolutely shameful episode. It was fuelled by drink and that does not make it any better.”
He accepted Munnik was the victim of an assault and noted the mitigation, so the 26-week prison sentence he imposed was suspended for two years.
He also ordered the defendant do 80 hours of unpaid community work and pay compensation of £250 to PC Tuckey, £100 to PC Miller and £100 court costs.