Teenager who attacked policeman and left him with broken eye socket avoids jail

Injured: Sgt Alec Barrett (Sussex Police Federation)
Injured: Sgt Alec Barrett (Sussex Police Federation)

A teenager who broke a police officer’s eye socket and nose in an attack has avoided jail.

Jonathan Beauchamp was handed a year’s custodial sentence suspended for two years over the attack on Sgt Alec Barrett in Brighton last month.

The Sussex Police officer had been on the ground breaking up a fight when Beauchamp, 19, punched him several times.

The attacker’s sentence at Lewes Crown Court on Tuesday has been slammed by a police union as “lenient”.

The assault left Sgt Barrett with concussion, a broken eye socket and a broken nose.

He said: “I was in a vulnerable position on the ground when the man sucker-punched me from a position that I didn’t see coming.

“My face is horrendously swollen, initially located around my eye, but now it’s around my cheek and one side of my face.

“I’ve been assaulted before, but I now find myself apprehensive about going back to work, especially operational duty, where I might be in the same position again, it’s affected me and my family who now worry about me going to work”.

Sgt Barrett said the attack had been a “reality check” of the dangers facing front line officers.

Alongside his suspended sentence, Beauchamp, of Southwick, West Sussex, was put on a five-month curfew, ordered to do 120 hours of unpaid work and pay £2,000 in compensation.

But the Police Federation, which represents rank-and-file officers, said the sentence was “lenient”.

Sgt Raffaele Cioffi, Deputy Secretary of Sussex Police Federation, said: “This is a lenient sentence for a violent criminal whose cowardly attack on a defenceless police officer left him with serious injuries.

“Let’s not forget that Sgt Barrett was trying to protect members of the public and was violently attacked for doing so, he was lucky not to have been blinded.”