A MAN who assaulted a police officer in Basingstoke has escaped penalty after the judge made an 'exceptional decision'.

Jack Gray, of Glendower Close, Churchdown, Gloucester, was arrested in Basingstoke on May 22 and taken to the Hampshire Constabulary building at Jay's Close, Basingstoke.

Basingstoke Magistrates' Court heard on Tuesday (June 8) how police grew concerned about the 28-year-old's apparent attempts at self harm and, on entering his cell, PC Graham Burriss was met with aggression.

David Fossler, prosecuting, said: "Mr Gray was arrested on unrelated matters and taken into a cell. Officers feared he may have attempted self harm."

He quoted a statement from PC Burriss, which described the moment Gray had "gone to push me with hands at my chest area. I cannot say for sure if he made contact, but I took this as an attempt to assault me."

Mr Fossler added that around an hour later, Gray "defecated on the blanket provided to him".

Gray pleaded guilty to two charges of assault on an emergency worker and criminal damage to property.

Philip McCann, defending, told the court that his client suffers with various mental health conditions including depression, anxiety and PTSD from witnessing abuse during his childhood.

He said Gray "has been trying to get help for his mental health" and has obtained permanent residence and a job as a groundworker since the offences took place.

"On this occasion, he was suffering quite badly from anxiety, he lashes out accepts this," Mr McCann added.

Addressing Gray, District Judge Tim Pattinson said he gave full credit for his guilty plea.

He said: "These are regarded as very serious offences indeed, however there is an exceptional background to this case.

"So I am in fact going to take an exceptional course, and make a conditional discharge of 18 months for both offences."

The judge said Gray would also be required to pay compensation of £110 to Hampshire Constabulary, as well as costs, bringing total payment due to £217.

He added: "I am departing from guidelines in this case in view of mental health matters and the unusual circumstances of the case, and the relatively low level of the assault, but do not expect this should there be any further assault on an emergency worker."