Exeter man guilty of threatening police officer on Exmouth seafront

Tristan Locke

Tristan Locke of Magdalen Road Exeter - Credit: Exeter Crown Court

A  man has been found guilty of assaulting a police officer after an all-night party on Exmouth beach even though he never laid a finger on the constable.

Tristan Locke was convicted of assaulting an emergency worker on the basis that his threat alone amounted to the offence.

He was caught on a police bodycam saying he wanted to ‘smack’ one of two officers and then moving swiftly towards him. The PC fended him off and handcuffed him before he could land a blow.

Locke and his partner had spent the previous afternoon sunbathing and drinking on the beach and had camped out in a tent before sharing a bottle of vodka with two other friends as soon as they woke up.

Police were called to a drunken bust-up between Locke and his partner and issued a dispersal order which required them to leave the area.

Locke became aggressive and walked off in a huff before returning ten minutes later and confronting the male and female police officers for a second time.

The bodycam footage started at this point and showed Locke shirtless and with another man and woman as they packed up their camping gear from a shelter opposite the Ocean Leisure Centre.

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He was recorded pointing at the male officer and telling his friends: “I want to smack that boy so much. I’m going to regret not smacking this copper for the rest of my life.”

He got up with a rucksack on his back and moved quickly towards the two officers before being stopped, arrested and handcuffed while protesting his innocence.

Locke, aged 32, of Magdalen Street, Exeter, denied assaulting an emergency worker but was found guilty by a jury at Exeter Crown Court.

Recorder Mr Mathew Turner had given them legal directions which said that a threat alone could constitute an assault.

He adjourned the sentence and asked the probation service to update him on Locke’s progress on a previous community order and suggest alternatives to custody.

During a two-day trial, the jury heard that the incident unfolded after police were called to a disturbance on the beach at around 9 am on July 25.

Police issued a Dispersal Order and Locke left the scene before returning, making his threat, and being arrested.

Locke said he had no intention of assaulting the police and was trying to walk past them and off the beach.

He said: “I 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.”

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