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Police officer couldn’t hold baby after brawl battering

Constable Alison Laughlan was hit up to 30 times while responding to a street fight.

Injured: PC Alison Laughlan was attacked.
Injured: PC Alison Laughlan was attacked.

A police officer was unable to hold her baby daughter after being hit up to 30 times during a street fight.

PC Alison Laughlan was responding to a street brawl in Johnstone, Renfrewshire, when she was attacked by Adam McManus.

She was struck on the head by the construction worker, who had a handcuff attached to one wrist.

Constable Laughlan, a serving officer for almost eight years, was left with a concussion and severe bruising on her face, neck and ribs.

She was so badly hurt that after getting home from hospital she was unable to hold her eight-month-old daughter.

Recalling the attack, the 28-year-old said: “As soon as I put one cuff on him, I saw him step forward with one foot and put his body forward and threw his head back.

“It was so quick. I just remember him knocking one of my colleagues and him falling backward. The next thing I know I got hit on the right side of my head.

“He had swung the arm round that had the cuff on it. I felt it hitting the side of my head and round the back.

“The next thing I felt was my head getting bashed from side to side because he just kept hitting. I remember screaming and kind of stumbling.

“I tried to put my hands up towards my face and I was shouting at him to get back, anything to get him away from me. All I could hear was screaming and shouting.

“He just wouldn’t stop.”

McManus was jailed for three years and given a 12-month supervision order following the attack, which took place in March.

Constable Laughlan has been nominated for a Scottish Police Federation bravery award, and recalled the moment she realised she couldn’t pick up her daughter.

“She crawled over to me and I didn’t go to pick her up because I didn’t feel well at all. I sat on the couch and my husband brought her over and put her next to me.

“She pulled onto my knee and when she turned to try and climb onto me to cuddle in, I just winced and almost pushed her away. She started to cry and then I got really upset.

“She was trying to grab onto me and touch my face but I just burst into tears because the side of my jaw and my nose was really sensitive from being hit.

“After we had sat for a bit, I tried to pick her up a little later and the weight of her just crippled my ribs completely.

Adam McManus: The attacker has been jailed.

“I had to ask my mother-in-law to look after her for the next three nights until my husband was off work again because I just couldn’t look after her.”

Constable Laughlan has a vivid memory of the sustained attack, which took seven police officers to stop.

She continued: “He kept hitting around my head and I was really dazed.

“Then I remember getting the taste of Pava spray which one of my colleagues had used while trying to get him off of me.

“I just thought that I wasn’t getting out of this, not conscious anyway. He must have hit me between 20 and 30 times.

“I was also winded when his hand hit me just under my right rib cage.”

She added: “At that point, I grabbed my baton and hit twice on his back but nothing happened.

Injury: The police officer was seriously hurt.

“I then hit him twice in the head but it still didn’t work.

“I’ve only ever used my baton as a deterrent or for smashing windows before. He just kept going, kept fighting.

“At that point, there were five officers trying to bring him under control. It took seven in total to get him on the ground.

“He then threw his head round and spat all over one of the officers and was trying to grab his face.

“He then turned towards me and spat, hitting me all down my face and chest.”

Constable Laughlan, who has now returned to work, told how the seemingly routine day turned into a “disaster”.

She said: “It started off as a normal day, if not a bit boring because I was working by myself until my partner was due to come in at 5pm. It then turned into a disaster.

“It didn’t affect me straight away because I was focused on other things at the time. It was maybe two months ago that I realised I needed to try and speak to someone about it.

“When you go to similar calls, you start to worry whether it’s going to boil over and if the same thing was going to happen again.

“I’ve never been the kind of person that gets panicked in situations and I hate having that feeling that before anything has even started, you start doubting yourself and whether you can deal with it.

“It’s amazing how one person can totally change you.”

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