A serial Derbyshire offender tried to punch a probation officer during an interview

Chesterfield magistrates' court.
Chesterfield magistrates' court.

A repeat offender tried to attack a probation officer who was attempting to help the defendant during an assessment interview.

Chesterfield magistrates’ court heard on September 18 how Ricky Whitehead, 30, of Main Road, Renishaw, threw punches at the probation officer who managed to get out of the way during the interview at the probation office, on Brimington Road, Chesterfield.

Prosecuting solicitor Matt Evans said: “It’s an unfortunate incident at the probation office. He attended the premises to meet a probation officer to discuss living arrangements and he was living at a friend’s property.”

The probation officer was on the phone, according to Mr Evans, speaking with Whitehead’s friend as part of a risk assessment when Whitehead became aggressive and abusive.

Mr Evans said Whitehead pressed a button on the phone and lunged towards the probation officer and attempted to punch him twice to the head but the victim dodged out of the way.

Whitehead told police the victim had been speaking badly to his friend and he admitted reaching over the desk to put the phone down and accepted putting the victim in fear of violence.

He added that if he had wanted to hit the victim he would not have missed and he also insulted an officer during his police interview.

The probation officer stated he has been in his current role for 17 years and has never been so scared of what was going to happen and he had felt terrified.

He stated that he felt particularly vulnerable because he suffers with a disability.

Whitehead, who has previous convictions for violence, pleaded guilty to committing a common assault after the incident on August 7.

District Judge Andrew Davison cited Whitehead’s previous convictions including possessing a weapon, assault occasioning actual bodily harm, possessing a bladed article, criminal damage, burglary and battery.

Defence solicitor Karl Meakin said Whitehead’s behaviour at the probation office was borne out of frustration but was totally unacceptable.

District Judge Davison said: “He has put himself in a grave position because of his appalling behaviour towards a probation officer and he’s made his situation worse by saying he wished he had struck him.”

The case was adjourned until a further hearing at Mansfield magistrates’ court on September 25 so a probation report could be prepared before sentencing.

Whitehead was released on unconditional bail but he was warned to co-operate with the probation service and if there are positive proposals custody might be avoided.