Man guilty of biting court guard

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A MAN who bit a security guard in a tussle over entry to a magistrates’ court has been found guilty of assault.

Phillip Walker, an ex-security officer at Bury St Edmunds Magistrates’ court, told the court he had to take anti-HIV medicine for six weeks after he was bitten by Justin Hopkins on November 12 last year.

Hopkins, 41, of St Anthony, Newmarket, appeared at Ipswich Magistrates’ Court last Friday to plead not guilty to two charges of assault.

The court heard how he was involved in a scuffle with Mr Walker and his colleague Tristan Askew after being denied access to the court.

The row centred on a methadone bottle that was confiscated from Hopkins when he attended court in the morning.

Clare Forsdike, prosecuting, told the court that Hopkins had handed over the bottle in the morning, but had been given it back before lunch.

When he returned to court after lunch, officers refused him entry after becoming concerned that he was intoxicated, according to Mr Askew.

The court was shown CCTV footage of Hopkins entering the court, before security officers forced him outside.

Although unseen by the cameras, Mr Walker told the court that Hopkins was ‘flailing his arms’ and ‘lashing out’ at the officers in the court’s car park.

When Mr Walker attempted to use a restraining technique on Hopkins, he was bitten on the hand.

Gavin Burrell, for Hopkins, said his client was reacting to the pain being caused by Mr Walker’s restraint techniques.

Hopkins described his treatment by the officers as ‘vicious’, claiming that he had only bitten Mr Walker as he could not breathe.

However, magistrates dismissed Hopkins’ claims, finding him guilty of both charges of assault. He will be sentenced on September 9.