A THUG tried to choke an off-duty police officer during a terrifying Metro attack.
Andrew Patterson was out on bail for a brutal assault on his girlfriend when he grabbed the officer who had asked him to stop smoking.
Footage of the 29-year-old’s violent onslaught, watched by stunned passengers, was played at Newcastle Crown Court.
Patterson had been released on bail just weeks earlier after beating his partner so badly she needed blood drained from her lungs.
She also ended up with a fractured eye socket and horrific body injuries after the attack at the Washington flat they shared.
Patterson had been remanded in custody while he waited to be sentenced but when he appeared back at court in October he was let out on to the streets so he could be assessed for an alcohol treatment programme.
A month later, he was travelling on the Metro from Sunderland when he was approached by a British Transport Police officer who asked him not to smoke.
Judge James Goss QC jailed Patterson for two years and said: “He has had his chance.”
Prosecutor Neil Pallister told the court Patterson attacked his girlfriend Kate Sancaster in May.
Mr Pallister said: “She recalls being pulled around by the hair and punched and kicked about the face and body.”
The court heard Miss Sancaster spent four days in hospital having fluid drained from her lungs and had a catalogue of other injuries. Patterson was remanded in custody after the attack but granted bail on October 4.
On November 5, he attacked the police officer who was travelling from Sunderland to Newcastle to start his shift at work.
Patterson did not initially react when the officer showed him his warrant card and asked him to put out the cigarette he was smoking. But moments later, he started questioning whether the officer really worked for the police and started throwing punches.
Mr Pallister said: “At one point, he pinned the officer into a seat and placed both his hands on the officer’s throat and started to squeeze his windpipe, making it hard for him to breathe.
“It lasted a few seconds until he managed to get him off.”
The court heard the officer managed to phone police colleagues for assistance and Patterson, who was trying to grab the cop’s testicles, was arrested when he got off the train at East Boldon. The officer was left with a sore throat and found swallowing difficult.
Judge Goss said Patterson’s persistence in the attack was “extraordinary”
Patterson, now of Stonecrop, Gateshead, who has convictions for 109 previous offences, including violence, pleaded guilty to the two assaults.
Tony Davis, defending, said Patterson had turned to drink that day due to a family crisis.
Following the case, a British Transport Police spokeswoman said: “This was a vicious assault on an off-duty officer who was acting in the best interests of the other passengers.
“CCTV footage showed Patterson carrying out the attack and many people witnessed the incident leaving him little option but to plead guilty.
“Violent acts like this are extremely rare on the rail network and the jail term imposed in this case serves as a reminder of the serious consequences for those who think this behaviour is acceptable.”