Sunderland woman gets suspended sentence for spitting at police officer as judge says assaults on emergency workers are reaching 'epidemic proportions'

A judge said assaults on emergency workers are reaching 'epidemic proportions' as Sunderland woman gets suspended prison sentence for spitting at a police officer.

Monday, 16th September 2019, 4:45 pm
Updated Tuesday, 17th September 2019, 11:26 am
Melissa Jane Godfrey, 27, of Sunderland's Edward Burdis Street, admitted the charge of common assault against an emergency worker when she appeared at at South Tyneside Magistrates' Court.

District Judge Gary Garland was speaking during a case where a defendant had spat in the face of an officer.

Melissa Jane Godfrey, 27, of Sunderland's Edward Burdis Street, admitted the charge of common assault against an emergency worker when she appeared at at South Tyneside Magistrates' Court.

Bethany Jenerzejewski, prosecuting, said officers were called to the defendant's house on July 19 this year following reports of concerns for a female.

Melissa Jane Godfrey, 27, of Sunderland's Edward Burdis Street, admitted the charge of common assault against an emergency worker when she appeared at at South Tyneside Magistrates' Court.

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She said two officers were already there when the officers arrived.

The solicitor said: "The officers went to the kitchen where they could hear shouting and wailing.

"The defendant was lying on the floor screaming."

She said: "The officers could smell alcohol."

As they were leaving the property Godfrey followed them, shouting, swearing and being abusive.

Ms Jenerzejewski, said: "An officer took hold of her and told her she was being arrested for being drunk and disorderly. As she had a hold of her she lunged her head toward the officer in what the officer felt was a deliberate attempt to headbutt her.

"As she tried to get her into the car she deliberately spat in the officer's face."

She said the spit went into her eye and mouth.

Defending, Greg Flaxen, said: "Ms Godfrey is embarrassed by the whole thing. She has mental health problems. She admits that she had stopped taking her medication at that time.

"She has shown a complete disrespect for the police, but I think it is fair to say she has learned her lesson."

Judge Garland said: "Assaults on police officers, ambulance workers, doctors, nurses and others like that is a very serious matter and these days assaults on emergency workers is at epidemic proportions. I don’t know why people think they can do it.”

Godfrey was given an eight-week jail sentence, suspended for 12 months, and ordered to pay £150 compensation.