Sheffield PC pricked her finger on suspect’s syringe

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A Sheffield man locked up after a policewoman pricked her finger on a used hypodermic syringe in his pocket has had his jail term cut on appeal.

Simon Paul Collins, aged 40, of Rothay Road, Wincobank, stole items worth £216 from Tesco Express, on Barnsley Road, on January 22.

He was taken to a police station where he was searched, Judge David Aubrey QC told London’s Appeal Court.

When PC Rachel Brightmore asked him if there were any sharp objects or needles in his pockets, he replied ‘no’.

But when she searched him she injured herself on the syringe. Further needles were discovered in his pockets.

Collins said he had borrowed the coat that morning from a friend with whom he injected cocaine and he did not know the needles were in the pockets.

PC Brightmore had to go undergo blood tests to check for infection and endure the agony of waiting weeks for the results.

Collins had ‘deliberately exposed the police officer to the risk of injury’, said the judge who locked him up.

Fortunately she was not infected by any transmittable disease, the court heard.

Collins admitted theft and was convicted by a jury of assault occasioning actual bodily harm.

He was jailed for 20 months at Sheffield Crown Court on June 15.

The sentence was ordered to run consecutively to a 24-week jail term he was already serving.

Collins had 40 previous convictions for crimes including burglary and battery, the court heard.

But his barrister Andrew Smith argued his overall sentence was far too tough.

And Judge Aubrey ruled: “The sentence imposed was too long and manifestly excessive.”

The judge, who was sitting with Mr Justice Green and Lord Justice Simon, reduced Collins’ jail term from 20 month to 15 months.