Policeman feared his fingers were going to be bitten off by Sunderland drunk

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A CONSTABLE feared his fingers were being bitten off when he was attacked by a man he was trying to help.

Pc Gavin Bithell tried to restrain Joseph Dove to stop him hurting himself when he started headbutting the back of a police car in a rage.

From: eleanor.harris.5159@northumbria.pnn.police.uk [mailto:eleanor.harris.5159@northumbria.pnn.police.uk] 'Sent: 21 July 2011 13:57'To: Marissa Carruthers'Subject: Offender pics [NOT PROTECTIVELY MARKED]'''Dove, Joseph.jpg   Joseph Dove

From: eleanor.harris.5159@northumbria.pnn.police.uk [mailto:eleanor.harris.5159@northumbria.pnn.police.uk] 'Sent: 21 July 2011 13:57'To: Marissa Carruthers'Subject: Offender pics [NOT PROTECTIVELY MARKED]'''Dove, Joseph.jpg Joseph Dove

Newcastle Crown Court heard Dove sank his teeth into the officer’s finger with such force he feared it was being bitten off.

The officer managed to prise Dove’s jaws apart to stop the attack, but Dove managed to get his teeth into the fingers on his other hand, while “growling like a dog”.

Pc Bithell suffered cuts to his fingers and needed antibiotics.

The court heard Dove had been put in the back of the police car that night in December after causing £600 of damage at his ex-girlfriend’s home.

The 28-year-old, of Ambleside Terrace, Seaburn Dene, admitted assault and criminal damage at an earlier hearing.

He was jailed for four months.

The judge said: “Pc Bithell was doing his job, which is not the easiest and is frequently made extremely difficult by the likes of you.

“He was trying to restrain you for no other reason than you seemed hell bent on injuring yourself and it was his wish to prevent you doing that.

“He feels angry that you responded in that way when he was only trying to do you a good turn.

“Police officers often complain they don’t get the protection of the courts, that soft sentences are being handed down to people like you when they have a sob story.

“Your sob story does not affect the pain, inconvenience and perhaps lack of shifts for the police officer.

“If you are not going to abide by the rules of civilised society you can abide by the rules of prison for a short while.”

Alec Burns, defending, said Dove had started drinking too much after he lost his job, home and girlfriend.

Mr Burns said: “He is ashamed and can’t understand how he came to be so stupid.

“By very good fortune they were relatively minor injuries to the police officer’s fingers.”

Mr Burns added that since the offence Dove has sought help with his drinking and been offered a job.

Twitter: @Sunderlandecho