A MAN who headbutted an acting sergeant and then described police officers as 'worse than murderers and rapists' has been jailed for ten months.

Thomas Harvey Ashe, 21, left the sergeant who tried to intervene in a street brawl in Weymouth town centre on the morning of September 15 with a broken nose.

Prosecutor Stuart Ellacott told a sentencing hearing at Dorchester Crown Court that Ashe, who admitted a charge of assault occasioning actual bodily harm, had become verbally abusive towards officers who attended the scene, claiming he had been assaulted and asking police why they were not arresting the man he believed to be responsible.

He said the acting police sergeant pushed Ashe down the road to remove him from the situation and the defendant responded by turning round and headbutting him in the face.

When he was being arrested he then told officers: “You're worse than murderers and rapists, I bet none of you have been to university.”

The court was told the injured officer was forced to have corrective surgery on his nose and was off work for a month.

Street cleaner Ashe, of Jestys Avenue, Weymouth, claimed in a basis of plea that he had been out with friends when they came across a fight between two groups of males who did they did not know.

He claimed one man was on the floor, apparently unconscious, being stamped on and he went to intervene while a friend phoned the police.

Ashe said he was struck several times by the unknown males as he attempted to act as a shield for the stricken man.

Robert Pawson, representing Ashe, said that while his client did not seek to use this as an excuse for his later conduct towards the police officers, it explained his 'heightened state of emotion'.

He added: “This is totally out of character and arises out of raised emotions in circumstances which are perhaps, if not justifiable, at least to a certain extent understandable.”

Judge Roger Jarvis told the defendant: “The court sadly has far too frequently to deal with young people, often young men, who are behaving in this sort of way.

“The plain fact of the matter is this is an offence committed against someone working in the public sector.

“If any of the rest of us had the misfortune to witness this sort of incident we can move to the other side of the road, a police officer cannot do that."

After the case, Detective Constable Declan Cummings, of Weymouth CID, said: “This sentence sends a clear message that this type of behaviour will not be tolerated.

Dorset Police is working hard together with partner agencies to make the town centre a safer place for people living, working and visiting.”