81-year-old given community order after attacking officers during arrest

Ipswich Crown Court Picture: CHARLOTTE BOND

Valerie Bish was given a community order after admitting assaulting two police officers. - Credit: CHARLOTTE BOND

An 81-year-old Suffolk woman who attacked two police officers as they tried to arrest her has been given a community order.

During the incident at her home, near Halesworth, during lockdown last year Valerie Bish scratched an officer on the arm and tried to bite one of them on the hand, Ipswich Crown Court heard.

At one stage she grabbed hold of a table and refused to let go and pulled one of the officers to the ground causing a bruise to her leg.

After viewing police webcam footage of the incident Judge Martyn Levett told Bish: “I’m quite sure you feel ashamed of what happened.” 

Judge Levett sentenced her to a two year community order with a 20 day rehabilitation activity requirement during which she will receive support from the probation service.

During the footage Bish, who had to be handcuffed, was seen lying on her back on the floor shouting at the officers and telling them she had been shielding because of worries about catching coronavirus and didn’t want to leave her home.

In a victim impact statement, one of the injured officers said she had been left with a two inch scar on her forearm which she believed to be permanent.

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Judge Levett said reports on Bish and her husband had identified the need for a multi-agency approach to ensure adequate support was put in place for her and her husband. 

Bish, of Linstead, near Halesworth, admitted assaulting two emergency workers on April 6 last year.

She denied two offences of assaulting her husband and these were ordered to be left on the court file.

Simon Gladwell, prosecuting, said the assaults on the police officers happened after they witnessed an alleged assault on Mr Bish by his wife and restrained her. 

Oliver Haswell for Bish said his client and her husband had been married for 63 years.

He said that following her arrest Bish wasn’t allowed to return home and since April last year she had spent £26,000 on rented accommodation.

 Mr Haswell said the incident the court had heard about it happened shortly after the start of lockdown last year at a time when people with serious underlying health conditions like Bish had been advised to shield in their homes.

He said Bish and her husband were keen for her to return home.