Dad of baby found with illegal drugs in system back in court for trying to bite cop

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A father who walked free after traces of an illegal drug were found in his baby daughter’s body following her mysterious death has been back in court after trying to bite a police constable.

Michael Johnson, 25, told the PC “you’re not getting hold of me” and kicked him in the stomach when he tried to arrest him just weeks after being handed a suspended sentence following his daughter’s death.

You kicked the police officer in the stomach and you tried to bite him. That is wholly unacceptable.

Judge Penny Moreland

Tragic tot Kiera Johnson was less than four months old when she died suddenly after a night sleeping in her parents’ bed last September and tests showed she had amphetamine in her system.

Her parents Cheryl Lauderdale and Michael Johnson admitted cruelty charges on the basis the tot was exposed to the drug in the home she was growing up and possession of amphetamine which was found in the house after the death.

It was accepted by prosecution that the baby was not deliberately fed the drug and it did not cause or contribute towards her untimely death.

It remains unclear why the little girl died.

They were both sentenced to six months imprisonment, suspended for two years, with supervision in December last year. Johnson was given a three month night time curfew.

Newcastle Crown Court heard on January 6 this year Johnson was staying at his mother’s after splitting with his partner when a police officer arrived at the address.

The police officer tried to arrest Johnson, for an unrelated matter which was later dropped, when he lashed out.

Bridie Smurthwaite, prosecuting, told the court: “As the officer went to handcuff the defendant, the defendant said ‘You’re not getting hold of me’.

“He kicked him in the stomach and went to strike him again. He tried to bite his hand.

“He was described as being aggressive towards him and needed two separate handcuffs to be restrained.”

The police officer said in a victim impact statement: “While I am a police officer and understand the dangers associated with the role I don’t accept being assaulted when on duty.”

Glen Gatland, defending, told the court how Johnson split up with his partner when she told him on Boxing Day that she was seeing somebody else.

He said: “The defendant and his ex-partner were together for three years.

“She had three from a previous relationship and they had their own daughter, she died.

“There is no allegation their behaviour had any responsibility for her death but what was found was she did have traces of amphetamine within her body.

“The defendant stayed with his partner throughout all of that.

“She told him on Boxing Day she was seeing another man and ordered him out of the house.

“He went to live at his mother’s house.”

It was while he was staying at his mother’s house that he was visited by a police officer who told him he was investigating allegations that he had made threats to kill his ex-partner.

The barrister added: “He was angry about that. He had never made any threats to kill.

“But that doesn’t excuse his behaviour, this was a police officer on duty, but it’s something that makes it more understandable.

“It’s led him to behave out of character, he has no previous convictions for violence.

“He is genuinely sorry for what happened at his mother’s house.”

Johnson, of Arklecrag, Washington, who was never prosecuted for threatening to kill his ex, pleaded guilty to assaulting a police constable and breaching a suspended sentence.

Judge Penny Moreland told Johnson: “You appeared at the crown court on 17 December for offences of child cruelty and with possessing drugs for which you were given a six month sentence suspended for 24 months.

“You were told that if you committed any further offence you can expect to serve the six month sentence.

“Not long after that sentence was imposed you reacted with violence to the officer who was doing no more than their duty.

“You kicked the police officer in the stomach and you tried to bite him.

That is wholly unacceptable.”

Judge Moreland sentenced Johnson to a community order with 50 hours unpaid work and ordered him to abide by a curfew for three months.