A REPEAT offender who kicked a cop in the jaw and spat on another officer during the pandemic has dodged jail – but promised he is going to change his ways this time.

Kilwinning man Connor McKnight, 26, walked free from court last week after admitting to three charges of assaulting police which left an officer needing tested when he appeared from custody last week [Friday, August 6].

McKnight’s defence solicitor Paul Kavanagh said: “He is aware that, especially charge six in a pandemic, this may attract a custody sentence.

“He is no stranger to court and has spent time in custody in the past. He had a difficult upbringing and had difficulties with literacy and numeracy and cannot read or write. At the age of 13 he was placed in local authority care. He had no real support from family – this led to problems in the past with heroin and Valium, mostly the latter.

“In my respectful submission There are alternatives to imprisonment – you’ll note he is clearly remorseful. He is hopeful to live a lawful life – he has the motivation and he wants to have the ability.”

READ MORE: Masked thugs attack young man and woman in town centre

Sheriff Elizabeth McFarlane told McKnight she would release him from jail but warned him not to end up back before her on Monday.

She said: “I appreciate you had not a great start but you can go on and let that define you or grasp the opportunity I’m about to give you.

“It’s up to you I can’t force you, you make the choices. The last thing you need when you leave here is Valium or I’ll see you on Monday.

McKnight replied: “I’m going to do it this time”, adding “I’m sick of this”.

He was given a community payback order with supervision for two years and given a tag for four months. He will also have to take part in alcohol and drug treatment.

READ MORE: Woman annoyed neighbours singing along to UVF song

The Procurator Fiscal told the court McKnight, whose address was last listed as HMP Kilmarnock, appeared in court on petition on November 26 last year.

He said: “At 1.30am on November 26, 2020 officers attended Burnshouse Avenue, Dalry in relation to a report made to police.

“Police officers stopped and were met by three men, one being Mr McKnight. Two other police constables arrived as support.

“The three men complied and provided details. The two then left when police had cause to speak to McKnight, and he became aggressive as officers applied handcuffs and had cause to place him in the police vehicle.

“Laying on his side in the vehicle, the constable opened the door and asked him to desist then he kicked the officer in the jaw.

“Officers attempted to restrain Mr McKnight. At which point a police constable was headbutted and another constable received several kicks to the arm.

“McKnight was then removed from the vehicle and officers changed his handcuffs from in front of him to the rear. At that time McKnight was brought to his feet and spat in the face of PC Lennox. He was taken to Saltcoats Police Station and a spit hood was applied.

“The police constable suffered bruising, swelling and pain in his jaw and discomfort. Due to being spat on, the officer had to have a coronavirus test.”