Councillor spat at policeman

By a County Press reporter

Friday, February 26, 2010


Councillor spat at policeman

Cllr Adrian Whittaker leaving court.

ISLE of Wight councillor Adrian Whittaker spat bloody saliva into the face of a policeman and taunted him that he had Aids, a court was told.

Police bodycam evidence, graphically showing the Isle of Wight Council member swearing, spitting and resisting officers, persuaded Whittaker to change his not guilty plea on the day of his trial, the court was told.

Father of three Whittaker, 37, of Lower Highland Road, Ryde, admitted assaulting PC Samuel Burrows late at night on November 23, when he appeared before Island magistrates last Thursday.

Magistrates watched DVD bodycam images, beginning with an obstructive Whittaker refusing to shut his front door, then abusing officers and finally spitting when he was taken to St Mary’s after sustaining injuries during arrest.

Whittaker had phoned police because he was concerned about the safety of his children after his partner and a large group of people turned up on his doorstep, said Tracy Connors, prosecuting.

But when police arrived, Whittaker, who was drunk, became increasingly aggressive, yelling at police: "Don’t touch me, don’t you know who I am?" after being told his children were to be taken into care overnight from a house with floors littered with clothes, knives, screwdrivers and debris.

Whittaker was taken to the floor by officers after clenching his fists and threatening them and continued to resist being cuffed, said Miss Connors.

At St Mary’s, four officers dealt with Whittaker, who screamed and shouted at them, alarming staff and patients, before spitting in PC Burrows’s face, bloody saliva finding its way into the officer’s mouth.

As he was taken to the police van, Whittaker taunted: "Ha, ha, I have got Aids."

The officer said he had been caused considerable anxiety and had to undergo a screening test, said Miss Connors.

The court was told Whittaker had six previous convictions for violence, inc-luding one of assaulting a police officer.

For Whittaker, Lee Peckham said his client maintained he spat recklessly while clearing vomit from his mouth.

"He is not someone who drinks regularly and trouble began over a silly argument with his partner over a laptop," said Mr Peckham.

His father (Cllr David Whittaker) and mother were there and prepared to have the children, aged 12, nine and eight overnight but he became extremely concerned that they were being taken into care, he said.

Bailing Whittaker until March 11 for pre-sentence reports, presiding magistrate Karen Drysdale warned him he faced the threat of custody.

A political future hangs in balance

THE political future of Adrian Whittaker hangs in the balance, less than a year after he was elected to the Isle of Wight Council.

His solicitor, Lee Peckham,  told the court: "He fears he will lose his position on the Isle of Wight Council. He has already been all but thrown out of the Liberal Democrat Party and as a councillor will suffer more damage to his reputation from this than the average person would."

After the case, Cllr Whittaker said he had lodged two complaints to the Independent Police Complaints Authority over the way he was arrested and the fact his children were taken into care overnight when their grandparents were prepared to look after them.

"I apologised to the police officer afterwards and I apologise for my behaviour to the electorate but I was going through a great deal of stress.

"I am deeply ashamed."

He has been expelled from the Isle of Wight Council’s LibDem group and the national executive is understood to be considering his membership.

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