A student who spied on women using the toilet at Birmingham’s Bullring shopping centre has avoided a jail sentence for knifing a policeman.
Registered sex offender Joel Hardman left PC John Harrison with a two-inch head wound as he resisted arrest at a railway station in rural Wales.
A court previously heard he had travelled from Birmingham intending to kill himself in Snowdonia after being sentenced on a voyeurism charge arising from his arrest at the Bullring.
Judge Nicolas Parry said the officer avoided serious injuries “only by the grace of God”.
He handed the 23-year-old a 12-month community order with supervision as he had already spent the equivalent of 14 months in custody.
“This was an attack on a public servant in a public place,” the judge said at Mold Crown Court.
“It caused great concern to members of the public on that small rural railway station platform.
“You were approached by a police officer in full uniform who made a civil and helpful approach to you.
“You sought to resist him and used a dangerous weapon that you were carrying. It was only by the grace of God that the injury was not more serious.”
Hardman, of West Drive, Edgbaston, suffers from Asperger syndrome.
The University of Birmingham postgraduate student previously admitted assault and possessing the knife at Betws-y-Coed Railway Station last June.
A charge of wounding the officer with intent, which he had denied, was allowed to remain on the file.
Mold Court, sitting in Chester, heard last month that Hardman was armed with two knives and intended to kill himself over his Bullring conviction, when he wore a “mannequin” disguise to spy on women using the toilet.
But he changed his mind and was at the station to return home and meet probation officers when he was approached by PC Harrison.
Hardman refused to speak to him and, when arrested, took a knife from his coat and brought it down on the officer’s head.
Arthur Gibson, defending, said that a package of support had been arranged for Hardman through the Asperger’s Society and his parents were prepared to provide him with a home.