Award-winning Telford resident assaulted police officer in row over Remembrance Day road closures

An award-winning Telford man has been handed a community order after he admitted assaulting a police officer following a row over Remembrance Day road closures.

Telford Justice Centre / Telford Magistrates Court
Telford Justice Centre / Telford Magistrates Court

Magistrates were told that Patrick Vincent Wheeler, of Near Vallens, in Hadley, is undergoing tests for dementia and has no convictions on a clean record that includes a local heroes certificate from the Mayor of Telford.

Hannah Baddeley, prosecuting, told Telford Magistrates Court on Tuesday that Wheeler had become agitated by road closures put in place for the Remembrance Day parade in Manse Road on November 13, 2022.

"He wanted to get home so he drove on the pavement and assaulted John Winwood by hitting him on the lower back which was witnessed by a police special constable," she said. He had been driving a Ford Tourneo 280 and was charged with driving without due care and attention and assault.

The court was told that on January 10 this year a police officer, Jack Jackson, called at Wheeler's home to interview him.

"He became very irate and aggressive and said he not cooperate," said Ms Baddeley. "He slammed the door on Mr Jackson's foot and then assaulted him, knocking him to the floor."

A fist-fight then took place between the two, with the officer trying to arrest Wheeler.

Wheeler then punched Mr Jackson's police radio, criminally damaging it. The costs of replacing that older police radio, which has gone out of service, with a newer one would cost £730, the court heard.

The prosecutor said Wheeler had no previous convictions.

Shahida Begum, defending, said: "It is a sad state of affairs.

"He is 69 years old with no previous convictions and is the winner of a Telford and Wrekin Mayor's award which celebrates his contribution to the community."

The magistrates were handed the certificate that Wheeler had proudly received and treated it as a part of the evidence.

But she said her client has had mental health problems since September 2022 and had been "confused, agitated and had a lack of understanding".

Members of Wheeler's family were in court supporting him.

They have sought assistance for his issues and the court was told that he is being assessed for dementia. He had also been a carer for his brother.

"It is just a sad state of affairs," said Ms Begum, adding that ordering him to do unpaid work would be inappropriate but Wheeler appreciated that it was a serious offence and he had shown remorse.

Wheeler had pleaded guilty to all the charges on April 25 and the court was sitting to determine a sentence after asking for a report from probation officers. He said he understood the court proceedings.

After retiring briefly to consider their sentence the three magistrates, led by David Silcock, imposed a 12-month community order on Wheeler, which must involve 12 days of rehabilitation activity requirement.

They also fined Wheeler £50 and ordered him to pay a fine of £50 and compensation of £100 to the police officer from his £184 per week pension.

The bench did not impose costs or apply a victim surcharge and Wheeler was allowed to go home with his family.

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