A DRUNKEN scaffolder launched a torrent of racist abuse at a police officer and a security guard as they detained him for breaching a cordon where a Russian spy was found seriously ill in what is thought to be a nerve agent attack.

Magistrates at Swindon jailed father-of-three Jamie Knight for 16 weeks, after hearing he had put himself and the other men at risk of contamination in the incident on Friday night at The Maltings in Salisbury.

The 30-year-old of Fair View Road, Wilton, pleaded guilty to assaulting a police officer, assault, causing criminal damage to a police van and racially aggravated disorderly behaviour with intent.

Michelle Hewitt, prosecuting, said Knight was arrested at 8.20pm at the scene where Sergei Skripal and his daughter Yulia were found.

“It is a serious investigation that has been on-going.” She explained the areas had been cordoned off for public safety and to protect the integrity of the crime scenes.

PC Jamie Ball was subjected to foul-mouthed racist abuse. “You’re not even a real black man,” the defendant taunted him, reeling off a series of insults aimed at the police and judges, all in front of members of the public.

In a statement PC Ball said he heard Knight yell: “You’re all going to die!” During the struggle the drunk bit him hard on the left hand and spat in his face. Security guard John King went over to help restrain Knight and received the same treatment.

The defendant told the men he hoped they would die. He ranted: “ Go catch the (obscenity) that killed the Russian, dirty doggy pigs. I hope he dies and his kids die too. Go tell the ((obscenity) Russian to (obscenity) die. I hate the Russians.”

When the prisoner transport van arrived he was put inside and proceeded to kick and headbutt the cage, leaving it covered in his own blood.

PC Ball had to remove his outer clothes, double bag them and be taken to hospital to be checked for possible contamination.

In a statement read by the prosecutor he said: “In 15 years as a police officer I have never experienced an incident such as this.”

Knight had been so violent that if Mr King had not come to his assistance he feared he could have been seriously hurt. By biting and spitting potentially fatal illnesses and contamination could have been passed on by Knight.

Mr King’s statement explained he put his weight on the defendant’s legs to stop him moving and was also bitten and spat at in the process.

The court heard Knight had a string of previous convictions for assault and public order offences. “There is a propensity for violence,” said Ms Hewitt.

Nick Redhead, defending, said Knight couldn’t account for the racism against the Russians. “He has nothing against them. He has never even met one.”

“He was very drunk last Friday night and his memory of what took place in The Maltings is very dim.”

“It has been quite a week for people in Salisbury with the ongoing investigation into what took place the previous Sunday,” said Mr Redhead.

“The overriding emotion for people in Salisbury is embarrassment as the local police station has been shut and this case is, in effect, being conducted out of the local council offices.”

He believed Knight was not entirely aware of the scale of the investigation, with the army being called in and several locations being cordoned off.

He had been out with a friend, celebrating their birthday and had had a lot to drink. He had a dim recollection of being arrested but did not remember biting. “His memory is of people trying to remove his clothing.”

The solicitor said: “He has had a weekend in the cells to reflect on what took place.”

He accepted his client had had brushes with the law but he worked hard to support his family.

After hearing Knight had not complied with community orders in the past, chairman of the bench Diana Crockett said: ““This was a sustained incident in full view of members of the public who would have been alarmed or distressed by your behaviour.”

As well as jailing Knight, the magistrates ordered him to pay £250 compensation each to PC Ball and Mr King and another £115 towards victim service and £85 in court costs.

He was also told he would be under supervision for a year after his release from prison.