US tourist punched police officer on patrol at Buckingham Palace, courts hears


An American tourist assaulted two armed police officers outside Buckingham Palace after asking them "Do you know any jokes?", a court has heard.

Ryan Robinson, 36, of Hawaii, punched PC Ben Collins at least four times to the face and tried to grab his Taser on Wednesday evening.

When PC Simon Leckie tried to intervene, shouting "Armed police. Stand still" and pointing his weapon at the American, Robinson knocked him to the ground.

He then pulled the two officers to their feet in "an extraordinary display of strength," prosecutor Henry Fitch said, before punching PC Collins again.

Robinson was heavily intoxicated and it took several other officers before he could be restrained and arrested, the court heard.

The two victims had been on patrol awaiting the arrival of the Prince of Wales and had asked Robinson to get out of the way behind the barriers when he attacked them.

Robinson appeared at Westminster Magistrates Court on Friday in a dirty shirt with a bruise to his eye and pleaded guilty to two counts of assaulting a police officer.

The court heard PC Collins suffered bruising to his face and ribs, while PC Leckie suffered a tendon injury in his wrist and was still unable to move it.

Michael Boyd, for Robinson, said he had been staying at the Smart View Hostel in Hyde Park and had been travelling in the UK for about a month before the attack.

Mr Boyd said: "He appears to have taken exception to the way in which PC Collins dealt with him, believing he was behaving rather officiously."

He continued: "He was arrested and taken to the police station, he admitted the offences in interview and expressed remorse."

He said Robinson, a builder, had been planning on staying in the UK for another week but had not yet booked his flight home.

From the dock, the defendant said he had just over £200 in cash and no other money because his credit card had been stolen a week ago.

When asked if he had reported the theft, he replied he had not had the chance because "England has been a fun place to visit so I didn't really think it was necessary."

District Judge Margot Coleman replied: "If it's such a fun place to visit I would have thought you would have needed credit cards to take advantage of that fun place to be."

Handing him an eight-week jail term suspended for one year, she said: "You must appreciate that committing an assault on officers who are protecting the palace and the royal family is a serious matter - particularly in the manner you did.

"It was a fierce assault and it appeared to the officer at the time that you tried to go for his Taser gun. Who could have anticipated where that might have led?"

She continued: "The fact that you were intoxicated at the time makes you the author of your own misfortunes, it does not diminish the offence in any way, if anything, it aggravates it."

Robinson was also ordered to pay £200 compensation to both victims and £80 costs within one week or serve 14 days in jail.