A POLICEMAN has been given a six-month jail sentence for headbutting his wife and sending her an anonymous text message while on bail accused of the assault which suggested she had made a mistake and it had been an accident.
But, sentencing Malcolm Lightfoot at Leeds Crown Court yesterday, Judge James Spencer QC said because of the time the officer had spent on remand in prison it should mean his immediate release.
The judge also agreed to impose a restraining order banning Lightfoot, a police constable with nearly 25 years experience, from contacting his wife directly or indirectly except through solicitors or other responsible third party for the next two years.
Lightfoot, 50, of High Spring Road, Long Lee, in Keighley had admitted assaulting his wife Angela causing her actual bodily harm on June 12 and doing an act intending to pervert the course of justice. He has now tendered his resignation from the West Yorkshire Police force.
Angela Wrottesley, prosecuting, told the court the couple were in a relationship for four years and had been married for one year at the time of the offences.
On the evening of June 11 they went out for a social evening and both consumed alcohol. There had been an argument between them the previous night over a text message Lightfoot had received from a female colleague which had led to a discussion about the nature of their relationship.
The pair returned home around 12.45am on June 12 and Mrs Lightfoot went into the bedroom to get ready for bed. Her husband then entered and when he did not say anything she asked him: “Is it going to be the silent treatment?”
Without warning he pinned her down on the bed with his body on her chest and arms held by her side.
Miss Wrottesley said Mrs Lightfoot was shouting at him to get off, calling him a “big lump” and saying she could not breathe. At one point he had hold of her hair and was pulling it, and a clump of hair was later found upon the floor.
As she struggled he held her wrists and told her: “I’m not going to let you go until you pass out” before headbutting her on the bridge of her nose.
He continued to restrain her although she was bleeding but then moved off her and said: “Well phone the police.”
She left the house and went to a friend’s home. In due course Lightfoot was arrested and said he had no idea how she had got her injuries.
Fellow officers discovered the bloodstained bedclothes had been put in the washing machine preventing forensic tests.
Lightfoot was bailed with a condition not to approach his wife but on June 20 she received a text from an unknown number purporting to come from an unidentified person saying it was hard to believe “Malcolm” would have done as she claimed and that it was more likely to have been an “accidental bang of heads”. The person pointed out it could lead to her husband being jailed, the loss of his job, pension and home.
She reported the text to police who discovered the phone had been bought at Asda and CCTV showed it was purchased by her husband. The phone was then found in his bedside table.
The court heard Mrs Lightfoot has begun divorce proceedings, still has trouble sleeping and wakes up suddenly believing she is being assaulted again.
Steven Crossley, for Lightfoot, said he had spent over three months in custody which had been difficult for a serving police officer.
“He has indicated remorse in the pre-sentence report and to the psychiatrist and asks to apologise again today.”
The text message was not threatening. As a result of the offences he was losing his employment having resigned from the police which was further punishment.
Sentencing Lightfoot, Judge Spencer said they had rowed that night over some “silly thing”.
“You both had too much to drink, you behaved in a violent way and that can’t be overlooked” but he said the consequences for him were immense, including the loss of his career and a bleak future.”