Young Leighton man with 57 offences to his record spared further jail

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A tearful prisoner who had spat at police officers during the coronavirus pandemic thanked a judge on Friday, May 22, who released him from jail.

Ross Bonnard, 26, from Leighton Buzzard had spat at or had thrown punches at officers on other occasions. 

Bonnard was on bail in May last year when he was asked to leave the Swan Hotel in Leighton Buzzard High Street.

He made a stab gesture at a member of staff, saying he would ‘f… the up’, Luton crown court heard. 

Prosecutor Benedict Peers said he was arrested and the next day spat in the face of a custody officer at Luton police station. 

A month later, after being released from custody having been arrested for being drunk, he tried to get into the Black Lion pub in Leighton Buzzard.

He refused to leave and when the police arrived he made a threat saying: “I’ll be back. I will stab you.” 

Mr Peers said: “He resisted arrested and became aggressive, trying to bite one officer on the arm. At the police station another tried to prevent him putting pillows down the lavatory in the cell to cause a flood. He grabbed her uniform and PARVA spray. Other police officers used Parva spray to restrain him.” 

In July last year when the police went to arrest him for breaching a curfew Bonnard threw a punch, that was blocked by an officer.

A second punch did, however, connect with his face. He was placed in a cell again, was aggressive and spat in another officer’s face, said the prosecutor. 

In January he was jailed for 40 weeks at Peterborough crown court for having a bladed article, but was released that month because of the time he had already served. 

Then in April Bonnard and another man were seen running across a courtyard in the town.

He was located by a resident who had called the police and was threatened.

When the police arrived Bonnard spat towards one officer’s face, making contact.

He started head-butting himself on the ground and spat twice at another police officer who intervened. 

Mr Peers said: “This was April and the officers were at risk of COVID-19.” 

Bonnard of Mile Tree Court, Leighton Buzzard appeared for sentence via a video link from Peterborough jail, having been recalled to jail.

He had admitted assaulting emergency workers, criminal damage and public order offences. He had committed 57 offences from 2010 to 2020. 

Richard Moss, defending, said Bonnard had stayed out of trouble from January to April, which he described as a ’minor achievement’. He said he had built up a rapport with probation officers. 

He said Bonnard, who had worked as a window cleaner with his father, has learning difficulties, ADHD and had been diagnosed with Tourette syndrome. 

Mr Moss asked for him to be released so he could go on a treatment programme.  Addressing the judge, Bonnard said: “If I get in that situation again I am not going to spit.” 

Bonnard sobbed when Judge Stevens Evans told him he was passing a Community Order that means he will be released from prison. 

The judge told him: “You could not complain if you received an immediate prison sentence. 

“In the middle of the pandemic the officers’ duty forced them to contravene social distancing rules to apprehend you. You spat in their faces, causing them anxiety. 

“It was disgusting behaviour – if there is any repeat I fully expect you will go to custody straight away.” 

The judge made a 12 month community order with conditions that he attends 30 days of a Rehabilitation Activity Requirement, a nine month mental health treatment programme and carries out 60 hours’ unpaid work.