Drunken man jailed after abusing police where ex-Russian double agent found ill

A drunken father-of-three who launched a foul-mouthed rant at police guarding the scene where a former Russian double agent and his daughter were discovered critically ill has been jailed for 16 weeks.

Jamie Knight, 30, faced magistrates to plead guilty to four offences committed at The Maltings in Salisbury, Wiltshire on the evening of March 9.

Swindon Magistrates' Court heard that Knight, a scaffolder, breached the cordon around the bench at The Maltings where Sergei Skripal, 66, and his 33-year-old daughter Yulia were found.

The site has been of particular interest to detectives investigating the incident as father and daughter remain critically ill in hospital.

Michelle Hewitt, prosecuting, said Pc Jamie Ball - fearing he was risking his life by entering the cordon - chased after Knight and apprehended him.

Security guard John King, who saw the officer was struggling to detain Knight, went to assist and the defendant bit both of them on the hand and spat at them during the struggle.

He shouted at them: "Go and catch the c*** that killed the Russian, dirty doggy pigs, I hope he dies and his kids die too, go and tell the f****** Russian to f****** die, I hate the Russians."

Knight, who had been out in Salisbury celebrating a friend's birthday, also called another police officer a "n*****" and said that "Russians should not be allowed in the country".

During the arrest he shouted out: "Nonce, nonce, I am being raped by the police. You are all going to die f******."

Ms Hewitt said: "There were many members of the public watching just 20 metres away."

After being arrested Knight was placed in the rear of a police van where he continued to kick out, spit and headbutt the cage - leaving a trail of his blood inside the vehicle.

In a statement read to the court, Pc Ball said he had undergone checks in hospital for possible contamination by a nerve agent.

"In 15 years as a police officer I have never been involved in an incident such as this," he said.

"The defendant was so violent and if John King had not assisted me I could have been seriously injured.

"By spitting in my face and biting me on the hand serious illnesses could have been passed on and could have been fatal."

Knight, of Fairview Road, Wilton, Salisbury, Wiltshire pleaded guilty to assaulting Pc Ball in the execution of his duty, assaulting Mr King by beating, criminal damage to a Wiltshire Police prisoner van valued under £5,000 and racially aggravated public disorder.

Nick Redhead, defending Knight, said: "Mr Knight really can't account for why he used words against Russians. He has never met one.

"He had been drinking and he was very drunk and his memory of what took place is very dim. He has had a weekend in the cells and finds himself rather shamefaced."

Mr Redhead added: "It has been quite a week for people in Salisbury with the ongoing investigation into what took place the previous Sunday.

"The overriding emotion of people in Salisbury is of embarrassment as the local police station has been shut and this case is being conducted out of the local council offices.

"I do not think Mr Knight was aware of the escalation of the situation over the course of the week with the army being called in with that site being examined and the possible contamination of other sites other than The Maltings."

Diane Crockett, chairwoman of the bench, said: "We have noted that you have a record of similar offences and we have heard on occasions you have failed to fully comply with the Probation Service.

"For the public order offence you will go to custody for 12 weeks and for the racially aggravated element you will go to custody for a further eight weeks on top. That is a total of 20 weeks. With your guilty plea we will reduce that to 16 weeks.

"This was a sustained incident in full view of members of the public who would have been alarmed or distressed by your behaviour."

Knight was also ordered to pay £250 compensation to both Pc Ball and Mr King, £85 court costs and £115 victim surcharge.