'She could be dead because of what you did': Shoplifter headbutted police officer unconscious after shouting vile racial abuse in Leeds Aldi store

A shoplifter headbutted a police officer unconscious after shouting sickening racist abuse at an Aldi store in Leeds.

Monday, 13th September 2021, 4:45 pm

A court was shown shocking footage of the moment Andrew Pitts attacked the officer without warning.

Staff and members of the public were seen placing the officer in the recovery position as she lay unconscious on the pavement outside the store on Tunstall Road, Beeston.

A Judge who jailed Pitts for 30 months told the defendant he could have killed the officer by his actions.

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Andrew Pitts was jailed for 30 months for a racially motivated headbutt attack on a police officer at an Aldi store in Leeds.

Leeds Crown Court heard Pitts went into the store on July 21 this year and was seen by a member of staff putting a bottle of vodka down his trousers.

A security guard approached the defendant and he immediately became aggressive and denied doing anything wrong.

Pitts was asked to calm down but he pushed the guard in the chest.

Pitts was escorted to the staff canteen where he began to shout racist abuse at the security guard before punching him on the chin.

The store manager was called and Pitts shouted racial insults at her.

He also threatened to burn her house down with the people inside it.

Police officers arrived and Pitts continued to be aggressive.

Born-worn camera footage was played to the court which showed Pitts shouting further racial comments as he was escorted through the store.

An officer told the defendant to stop as children were present.

He was restrained on the floor outside the store as he struggled and shouted further racial abuse.

Pitts headbutted the female officer as he was about to be placed in a police van.

The officer was knocked unconscious to the floor.

Members of the public helped to place the officer in the recovery position as her colleague detained Pitts on the ground and radioed for back-up.

The court heard the officer suffered serious psychological harm as a result of the attack and had to undergo counselling.

Katy Rafter, prosecuting, said: "Although a frontline officer, she doesn't expect to be headbutted so that she is knocked unconscious in full view of the public in the community she is there to keep safe."

Ms Rafter said the officer was also worried in case her children saw footage of the attack on social media.

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He has 29 previous convictions for offences including assaulting an emergency worker.

Martin Morrow, mitigating, said Pitts accepted he must go to jail and was sorry for what he had done.

Mr Morrow said: "When he was shown CCTV footage he was rightly ashamed of his behaviour."

"He wishes to apologise unreservedly to her."

Mr Morrow said Pitts had been using spice and had drunk a bottle of wine and a bottle of gin before the incident.

He added: "His life is characterised by alcohol, drug dependency and homelessness."

Jailing Pitts, Recorder Andrew Lumley QC said: "This is not the first time you have violently and publicly expressed racist abuse."

Describing the attack on the police officer, Recorder Lumley said: "They were remarkably restrained in the circumstances and without warning you headbutted her.

"You sent her to the ground. She could have cracked her head on that pavement. She could be dead because of what you did.

"You have a great deal to be deeply ashamed about.

"But that will be of little comfort to your victims."