November 26, 2021

Violent foul-mouthed Derbyshire police officer headbutted innocent driver

PC Mark Knights has been convicted of assault and faces losing his job

A disgraced Derbyshire police officer who headbutted a motorist and uttered a foul-mouthed insult about his victim’s weight faces the sack after being found guilty of assault.

Matlock-based PC Mark Knights, 34, told his victim to “Fuck off”, called him a “fat cunt” then headbutted and handcuffed him, Southern Derbyshire Magistrates’ Court heard.

The flashpoint came when Ben Joynes told the officer he was unable to move his car to let a police van through because he was blocked in. Knights claimed the sales manager was being obstructive.

The incident, which took place near Belper, escalated when the officer started taking photos of Mr Joynes’ car. The motorist then photographed the officer.

When Knights swore at Mr Joynes as he drove off, the victim got out of his car to demand the officer’s details only to be headbutted, handcuffed and bundled into a police van.

The father-of-one claimed he acted in self-defence because he felt threatened but after being found guilty of assault, his seven-year police career appears to be in tatters.

Delivering his guilty verdict after a two-day trial, District Judge Andrew Meachin told the officer he had “inexplicably inflamed the situation” by using what could only be described as “despicable abuse”.

He added: “In a moment of aberration you struck a man and with the passage of time you have convinced yourself you acted lawfully.”

Handing Knights a six-month curfew order he told him he had committed a serious offence.

“Undoubtedly this marks the end of your career,” he said.

Southern Derbyshire Magistrates’ Court was told Mr Joynes was in his car with his son when they came across police dealing with a road rage incident on the narrow country road in Ambergate, near Belper, on the morning of November 21, last year.

Knights drove up from behind in his police van then asked Mr Joynes to move his car, but the man said he was unable to and “flippantly” suggested the officer was “a big boy” and could walk down the road to escort a man who had been arrested back to his van.

The well-built 6ft 4in 17-stone keep fit fanatic, who was described by the prosecutor as “a bit of a unit”, then went to take a photo of the car.

Mr Joynes stepped out of his car and took a picture of the officer before getting back in the vehicle to drive off.

The officer admitted as the man passed him he insulted him. Mr Joynes got out of the car a second time to demand the officer’s name and number but before he could finish his sentence the officer headbutted him.

Knights claimed he only reacted because he felt threatened at being confronted by 5ft 9in Mr Joynes, who he described as aggressive.

Prosecutor Mark Fielding told the court: “He could and should have done something else, perhaps a punch to his (Mr Joynes’) corpulent stomach or a push would have sufficed.

“Instead he went straight for the nuclear option of a headbutt.”

Mr Joynes 48, of Dronfield, said: “As I got level with him he called me a fat cunt whilst smiling.

“I said ‘pardon’ and he said it again. I got out of my car and said I wanted his name, before I had the chance to say ‘…and your number’ he headbutted me.”

He claimed the next few seconds were “a bit of a blur”.

“I just remember recoiling in shock,” said Mr Joynes.

Within seconds he was face down on the ground as the officer “jumped” on top of him “screaming” at him to get his hands behind him so he could be handcuffed.

The stunned motorist was put in a police van but five minutes later he was released. The court was told no arrest was ever made.

Under cross-examination, Mr Joynes denied being obstructive or that he had an issue with authority.

Another witness said after the handcuffed man was led away to a police car he saw the officer remove both his epaulettes, which carry an officer’s number, and put them in his pocket.

At the time of the assault, PC Knights was carrying a baton, a taser and a pepper spray, none of which he used.

When Knights was interviewed two months later, he said he was taken aback by the motorist’s “abrupt” response to a “polite request” to move his car.

He claimed that, as Mr Joynes drove off he had aimed a comment at him, although he could not say what it was.

“I wrongly replied ‘fuck off, you fat cunt’. This is not an excuse, I should not have done it,” he said.

The officer claimed when the driver got out and confronted him he “genuinely felt he was going to assault me”.

The court was told the use of a headbutt was not a “tactical option” police were taught, but it was not illegal and it was for an officer “to justify the level and degree of force used”.

Knights, who denied assault by beating, was first brought before the court when YouTuber Rob Warner – known as CrimeBodge – took up Mr Joynes’ case, before the Crown Prosecution Service stepped in.

Now the shamed officer will be tagged and must keep a six-month curfew between 7pm and 7am.

He was also ordered to pay £1,190 in costs and compensation.

A spokesman for Derbyshire police said that due to the ongoing misconduct proceedings they were unable to comment on the outcome of the trial.

A spokesman for the force said: “The initial incident was reported as a complaint about a police officer and not an alleged crime.

“The force put the criminal case to the CPS, however, there were further delays due to charging decisions, something outside of the control of the force.

“An initial decision to not charge PC Knight was appealed by the force, as well as by the victim through the formal review process.

“During the point at which this review was being carried out, a private prosecution was brought on behalf of the victim (By Crimebodge), before the CPS decided to charge the case criminally themselves.”

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1 Comment

  1. Rob Warner of Crimebodge appears to me no longer doing his ususal thing. He appears to have stopped posting videos on his Youtub channel with his usual regualarity. I don’t know if that has anything to do with his attemps to get PC Mark knight into the filthy corrupt UK courts but I wouldn’t be surprised if it had.
    You can’t really take on the police they always come out on top in the end usually smelling of roses too.
    It is usually best just to obey them and keep your head down. What is the point of getting beaten up and then taken before one of their courts. It also does sound like he may have been cheeky to the officer calling him a “big boy who could walk”.

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