A 'COMPLETE idiot' has been cleared of affray following a mass brawl in Evesham but admitted escaping from police custody while still in handcuffs - but only for 12 seconds.

Thomas Packwood was cleared by a jury of the affray which took place on the old bridge (Bridge Street) in Evesham town centre when they returned with a not guilty verdict at Worcester Crown Court on Monday.

Packwood, 33, of High Street, Evesham denied involvement in the brawl which was said in court to have taken place near Marilyn’s nightclub at 3am on December 25, 2018.

However, Packwood had admitted escaping lawful custody in the wake of the incident and his solicitor, Belinda Ariss, conceded that it was in itself a 'serious offence'.

However, she added: "He was away from police custody for 12 seconds."

Miss Ariss argued that it was at the 'bottom end of the scale' when it came to an escape from lawful custody.

Judge Martin Jackson, who presided over the trial and thanked the jury for their careful deliberations, said he did not think a curfew was an appropriate sentence as everyone was effectively under some form of curfew due to the lockdown restrictions as a result of the Covid-19 pandemic.

He told the defendant that he had pleaded guilty to escaping lawful custody 'somewhat late into the day'.

Judge Jackson said: "You had been detained and put in handcuffs by police officers. You ran off. You were only at liberty for around 12 to 13 seconds. I recognise it was not the police that recaptured you but a member of the doorstaff. This was not the most successful of attempts to escape." N

oting that there were no sentencing guidelines for this type of offence, the judge said: "The main mischief is that you ran off and there was no need to do so and you made a job for the police who were trying to deal with a difficult disturbance, to bring that disturbance under control. They did not need to be distracted by you acting like a complete idiot and running away."

However, he took into account that Packwood had expressed remorse, that he had no offence recorded against him since 2007 and that his actions were 'a spur of the moment piece of behaviour'.

The judge imposed a 12 month community order which will include 120 hours of unpaid work.

He warned the defendant: "If you breach this order by failing to do the unpaid work as directed you can be brought back to court."

No order was made for costs after the judge bore in mind Packwood's income. Were he to impose costs, the judge said other people, innocent of the matter, would end up paying the money on Packwood's behalf.