A Horwich man who fled home and bit police following reports of a ‘domestic incident’ has avoided prison.

Spencer Lesurf, formerly of Craven Court, Horwich, but now living in Cambridgeshire, was sentenced to eight months in prison, suspended for 12 months, at Bolton Crown Court on Friday, February 2.

Prosecuting, barrister Niamh Ingham told the court how officers saw Lesurf near St Elizabeth’s Church following reports of a domestic incident on October 3, 2021.

Lesurf, who has six previous convictions for 10 offences including resisting constables and affray, then fled towards Chorley New Road, where he was pursued down an alleyway and tried to climb over a fence but failed.

He was then asked by police to get to the floor but refused. He then began fighting with the two officers as they tried to restrain him, and continued to resist despite a third officer getting involved.

Lesurf was then placed in a headlock, when he bit PC Miles Wold on his right bicep, causing bruising. He continued to resist and then bit PC Daniel Morris on his right hand as he tried to secure his head, resulting in ‘visible teeth marks’ and breaking layers of the skin, causing bleeding.

He then spat at officers and was placed in limb restraints and a spit guard, before being escorted to a police van, where he continued to act aggressively and was transported to hospital after sustaining injuries.

At interview, Lesurf denied biting the officers and he initially entered not guilty pleas at Wigan Magistrates in 2021.

However, Lesurf pleaded guilty to the two assaults in December 2023 – avoiding a trial.

Defence notes ‘positive steps to turn life around’

Defence barrister Hannah Forsyth urged Recorder Nicholas Williams to consider whether the biting was the ‘intentional use of a weapon, or acts of a man who found himself somewhat overwhelmed by the situation he was in’.

Ms Forsyth added that the case had been resolved without a witness needing to attend, and added that, despite difficulties with his mental health, Lesurf had made ‘positive steps to turn his life around’, such as ending his relationship with his ex-partner.

Additionally, she noted that Forsyth is now engaged to his new partner, who was sitting in the court to support him.

The court was told that the incident had occurred shortly after Lesurf had received news of his mother’s pancreatic cancer diagnosis, leading him to attempt to end his own life – with officers said to have acknowledged his ‘heightened emotional state’ where he ‘appeared to be encouraging officers to harm him’.

Lesurf was said to be the only person in the position to provide regular care to his mother after his father passed away in September 2023, assisting with shopping and housework, and was said to wish to return to paid employment.

Judge criticises ‘significant and serious’ injuries

Summing up, Recorder Williams said after a chase, Lesurf bit PC Wold, “causing bruising and, no doubt, considerable pain”.

After biting PC Morris and leaving a mark, he was restrained and taken to the police van, where he headbutted the cage, causing his nose to ‘split open’.

Sentencing, Recorder Williams said PC Morris and Wold’s status as emergency workers was a ‘significant aggravating feature’, and noted Lesurf’s ‘ongoing issues with substance abuse’ including cannabis, alcohol, and cocaine, as well as a difficulty in taking responsibility for his own behaviour.

He said: “I consider the injuries to PC Morris and Wold to be significant and serious.

“These were officers, public servants, just doing their job. They don’t deserve to be abused in the way you assaulted them.”

Recorder Williams said the offence was so serious that only a custodial sentence could be justified.

However, he said he did not regard Lesurf to be a danger to the public, due to previous completed supervision by the probation service.

He said: “The message has to go out that if you assault a police officer, you go to prison. But I have to balance that with whether there’s a realistic prospect of rehabilitation.”

He added: “I am prepared to give you another chance.”

To a tearful public gallery, Lesurf was sentenced to eight months in prison, suspended for 12 months, as well as 20 days’ rehabilitation activity requirement and alcohol abstinence monitoring for 90 days.

Lesurf thanked Recorder Williams after he was told: “It’s in your hands now. I’m giving you a chance.

“Please, please make sure you comply with this order.”