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Off-duty officer accused of wounding Workington man tells jury of “defensible action”

Stephen Light outside Carlisle Crown Court.

[A] POLICE sergeant accused of attacking a man while in-drink and off-duty has given evidence to a jury.

Stephen William Light, 44, is on trial at Carlisle Crown Court. It is alleged he attacked and injured Andrew Grant – a Workington neighbour involved in a noise dispute with his father and step-mother – and damaged Mr Grant’s windows during the early hours of April 11.

Light, a Northumbria Police neighbourhood sergeant whose job involves dealing with domestic rows, gave evidence today (WED). During two-and-a-half hours in the witness box, he spoke of drinking 10 pints in Workington while off-duty before seeing Mr Grant on his way home. He alleged Mr Grant gestured at his father’s home, stating: “You want to watch that doesn’t burn down tonight.”

Insisting he was “absolutely fine” despite the drink, Light entered Mr Grant’s home uninvited and unannounced to lawfully detain the householder for the comment.

During a struggle which he claimed Mr Grant started, Light spoke of being attacked first with a tea cup and then with the kitchen roll holder, which he managed to take from the householder. Light admitted he then “lashed out” with the metal implement while bleeding, injured and “fearful for my own personal safety”. “Everything happened so fast, and it was just a defensible action,” he told jurors.

He accepted earlier saying in interview “I’ve lost my temper” and “I went into a rage – wrong thing to do”.

But in court he explained: “Not a rage. I went into police mode.”

Light said: “I took the threat to burn the house down very seriously.” He added: “I was going to offer no violence at all.”

Prosecutor Gerard Rogerson suggested during cross-examination: “You took matters into your own hands, Mr Light, didn’t you?”

Light replied: “I dealt with the situation as well as I am empowered to do so. I am a  police officer.” He agreed there was a “lack of judgment”. “But I knew what I was doing,” he insisted.

Light, of Bede Close, Newcastle-upon-Tyne, denies unlawful wounding and criminal damage. The trial continues.

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