Leamington sergeant tells of ‘horrendous’ start to Christmas after transphobic abuse

Court news
Court news

A police Sergeant from Leamington station had a ‘horrendous start to Christmas day’ after transphobic comments were used towards her, a court has heard.

Richard Clarke, of Wolseley Road, West Bromwich, who gave his age as 45, appeared at Warwickshire Magistrates’ Court yesterday (June 28) for trial.

Clarke was found guilty of resisting a constable in execution of their duty and using threatening, abusive or insulting words to cause harassment, alarm or distress.

The court heard that on December 24 last year police officers from Leamington police station were sent to a domestic incident at an address in the town at around 11.15pm.

Police attended the address, which is where Clarke was, and he was told to leave the property by Sergeant Victoria Duffield-Smith.

Five to 10 minutes later, Clarke returned to the address, where the sergeant arrested him to prevent breach of the peace.

Sgt Duffield-Smith said that when attempting to arrest Clarke with another officer, he was ‘wriggling’ and ‘trying to get away’.

She also added that when she was trying to escort him to the police vehicle she had been in, he starting making ‘clumsy swinging movements with his legs’.

She said: “I was fearful an assault could take place so I decided further control needed to be taken and it was safer for everyone if he was on the floor.”

The court then heard because of the commotion Clarke was causing, two officers who had remained at the address from the previous call out, came to assist.

After the arrest Clare was taken to custody at Leamington police station, where he went on to make transphobic comments at Sgt Duffield-Smith.

CCTV footage of the custody booking where the comments were made was shown to the court, where Clarke could be heard making the comments.

Miss Sekhon, prosecuting, said: “Clarke resisted arrest officers to the extent four officers were necessary to detain him. He was then taken to custody where he made a number of comments of a transphobic nature towards the officer’s gender.”

Miss Sekhon also said that during Clarke’s interview regarding resisting arrest he asked “what to call it” and that because of the nature of the comments that she would be prosecuting it as a hate crime.

During the trial Sgt Duffield-Smith told the court: “We got to custody and the defendant was complaining about everything, about how tight the handcuffs were and he also suggested that his arrest was only motivated by his race.

“The on-duty custody sergeant checked the cuffs but that was not good enough and he still continued to complain he then referred to me as “that man woman thing” and “shim”, which I took to question my gender identity.

“It was extremely distressing but I just continued with the booking in procedure and it took all of my professional abilities not to say something to him.

“He was aware of what he was doing.

“It was a pretty horrendous way to start Christmas Day.”

Representing himself, Clarke denied that he resisted arrest and that he did not mean to cause any stress or harm by his comments to the sergeant.

He said that when the sergeant attended the address he through the officer was a man because of her deep voice.

He said: “I thought you were a man. I was surprised that the voice I was hearing turned out to be a woman. I saw the blonde hair and was a bit shocked.

“I am not a transphobic man. I am not that bloke. I work in the public sector.

“I did not intend to cause distress.

“I don’t know what “shim” means. I put a she and a he together. It is not a crude thing. I don’t see how that is being abusive.

“Don’t make me out to be some monster who is homophobic, transphobic. I am not that person.”

During the trial, Clarke also apologised to the sergeant for his comments.

As a result of being found guilty Clarke is due to appear back in court on Thursday July 5 for sentencing. His bail, which was previously granted, was extended to that date.