Albury officer broke leg arresting drunk patron

ALBURY police officer Tod Donoghue suffered a broken leg when arresting a belligerent drunk outside a Lavington hotel early this year, a court heard yesterday.

Gundagai man Paul Anthony Murdoch had refused to leave the Northside Hotel and was abusive to staff and police before finally going.

He was accompanied outside by another man about 12.15am on March 21 and told four police officers who followed: “Go and lock up some real criminals.”

Murdoch used offensive language and said: “I will remember you. You think you are tough.”

The officers moved to arrest the two men and Sen-Constable Donoghue took hold of Murdoch’s right arm to restrain him.

He pulled his arms into his body and was trying to push the officers towards the roadway.

When trying to restrain him, Sen-Constable Donoghue heard two distinct cracks from the lower part of his right leg.

He was unable to put weight on that leg, hobbled to a police vehicle and waited for an ambulance.

The officer was subsequently given three lots of morphine intravenously for the pain and x-rays revealed a broken tibia not far from his ankle joint.

He was still on crutches 11 weeks after surgery, will take six months to fully recovery and has a rope cable in his leg which will remain in place permanently.

Murdoch, 44, pleading not guilty to resisting arrest, but guilty to being an excluded person failing to leave and offensive language.

Murdoch said he began drinking at the hotel about 6pm, had 13 or 14 schooners of heavy beer and then four pre-mixed rum drinks.

When police prosecutor Sgt Shannon Lewis suggested he had consumed a large amount of alcohol, Murdoch replied: “Not really”.

Magistrate Tony Murray said there was really no challenge by Murdoch over what the four police said about the arrest.

Murdoch apologised to Sen-Constable Donoghue for his injury when Mr Murray asked if he had anything to say after convicting him.

Murdoch was put on an 18-month bond and fined $600 for resisting police with fines totalling $600 over the other two matters.