Man in court over alleged 'threat' to Exmouth police officer

Exeter Crown Court

Exeter Crown Court - Credit: Alex Walton

A man has denied that he planned to attack a police officer who he said he was ‘going to smack’ on Exmouth seafront.

Tristan Locke was already drunk at 9.15 in the morning when he and two friends were moved on from shelters on the seafront where they had been camping out.

He was recorded on a police bodycam pointing at one of two police officers and saying: “I want to smack that boy so much. I’m going to regret not smacking this copper for the rest of my life.”

The footage showed Locke get up and move towards the officer before being stopped, arrested and handcuffed while protesting his innocence.

He is wearing a backpack but no shirt in the bodycam footage and is with an older man and woman who are seen packing up bedding and urging Locke to move away.

Locke, aged 32, of Magdalen Street, Exeter, denies assaulting an emergency worker.

Mr Ian Graham, prosecuting, said police were called to the beach opposite the Ocean Leisure Centre on the morning of July 25 this year and asked Locke to move away.

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He was agitated but left the area before returning a short time later and again becoming aggressive towards the male and female police officer.

Mr Graham said the prosecution case is that this there was no direct physical contact but the threat to the officer constituted an assault.

PC Rupert Powells said he issued a Dispersal Order before Locke left for the first time and was concerned at his aggression when he returned to the scene. He said he perceived he was about to be punched when Locke moved towards him.

Locke told the jury he and his girlfriend had gone to Exmouth the previous afternoon and spent the night in a tent on the beach.

They got up in the morning and shared a bottle of vodka with two friends before he had an argument with his partner which led to the police being called.

He said he was agitated about being moved on and returned to pick up his belongings.

He said: “I walked between the two officers and went to help the others pack our things away. I said those things to my friends and not to the police. It was stupid but it didn’t cross my mind to do it.

“I went to walk back between the officers. I had no intention of hitting them.”

The trial continues.

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