'Cowardly' Sunderland mum bit policeman's finger and hit another while his back was turned

A Sunderland mum who bit a policeman’s finger and hit another in the face while his back was turned has been spared jail.

Toni King.
Toni King.

Toni King’s attacks at an address in the city in July came just four months after she was sentenced for a similar assault against another emergency services worker.

At South Tyneside Magistrates’ Court, King, 36, of Carlisle Terrace, Southwick, was criticised by both officers in victim statements. In one, the constable whose face she hit labelled her actions “cowardly” and committed by “someone with a total lack of respect”.

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King was handed a 26-week suspended prison sentence by District Judge Zoe Passfield, who accepted she was genuinely remorseful. Judge Passfield was also told the offender was suffering from serious mental health issues for which she was getting professional support.

Prosecutor Lillian Yanes Hellevik said: “Officers attended the address to deal with other issues in the property. The rear door was forced open and then the defendant became angry and attempted to stop a sergeant from entering.

“One of the PCs then pushed the defendant away to stop her from obstructing. His back was turned, and the defendant has struck him on the side of his face, causing bruising and swelling. Her electronic vape was in her mouth and when the other officer went to get it out, she bit his left middle finger.”

King pleaded guilty to two counts of assault of an emergency worker, with the attacks taking place on Friday, July 8. The court heard her only previous criminal conviction was an emergency worker assault last year, for which she was sentenced in March.

Gerry Armstrong, defending, said King was receiving specialist support for her mental health woes.

He added: “She was genuinely distressed and remorseful for her act, and wants the officers to know. There is a genuine and realistic prospect of rehabilitation.”

Judge Passfield sentenced King to concurrent jail sentences of 26 weeks for the bite attack and 16 weeks for the second assault, suspended for 18 months. She must pay compensation of £150 to the bitten officer and £50 to the other. There were no court costs.