A VIOLENT man spat at a civilian worker at Bury police station and then sent her a threatening e-mail message.

Manchester Minshull Street Crown Court heard how paranoid schizophrenic Brian Watson had been arrested an detained in the cells at the police station on February 24, 2019, but when detention officer Janet Flynn opened a hatch to hand him food, he spat in her face.

He was charged with assaulting her but two days later Ms Flynn received an email to her work address from Watson.

"Its contents sought to rationalise what he had done and said that the allegation was ridiculous," Rachel Faux, prosecuting, told the court.

Then, on March 8, 2019 Watson sent another email to Ms Flynn and her colleagues demanding compensation and expenses.

"The email was not addressed to her by name but was threatening and stated: 'Regardless of whether you pay me the compensation or not, lives will be lost on your side for the crimes you have committed'."

In a victim statement read out in court Ms Flynn said: "Although these offences may appear trivial by Crown Court standards, this case had a significant impact on me.

"I was privy to Watson's previous offending history which is littered with cases of threatening behaviour and spontaneous acts of violence."

The court heard that, over a two year period Watson, of no fixed address, was not properly medicated for his unstable mental condition and he committed a number of violent offences.

The first occurred in Oldham on October 14, 2017 when three 13-year-old schoolboys were on an evening bus travelling towards the town centre.

"As they neared the bus station, they witnessed the defendant shout, 'get on the ground' whilst pointing a pistol towards the head of a second male who was squatting on the pavement," said Miss Faux.

When the boys got home a parent phoned police and at 10.05pm officers found Watson in a town centre churchyard.

A CCTV operator had spotted him acting suspiciously and he was stopped. He was wearing a woollen hat with eye holes cut into it to create a balaclava and, searching a nearby plant pot, police recovered an air pistol loaded with pellets.

Watson, aged 32, of no fixed address, told police he suffered from hallucinations.

Judge Bernadette Baxter was told that Watson also committed other offences, attacking a PCSO in Rochdale town centre on October 5, 2018 and possessing an axe in McDonald's at Rochdale on March 9, 2019. He took the weapon out of it's sheath and was stroking it, causing a frightened family, sitting at a neighbouring table, to leave.

On his way to the police station he became aggressive, telling one officer, "You need your head cutting off with a rusty blade" and striking another in the face after managing to slip out of his handcuffs.

Two months later, on April 29, Watson became violent when a member of the public objected to him fishing coins out of the fountain in St Ann's Square, Manchester, pointing out that the money was intended for the Arena bomb victims.

Two off-duty police intervened and asked him to return the 26p he had in his hand, but he refused and became violent and assaulted them.

Watson pleaded guilty to possessing a firearm with intent to cause fear of violence, several assaults, possessing an axe in public, theft, sending a threatening message and failing to surrender to court.

Helen Longworth, defending, said Watson was finally detained at Forest Bank prison on December 11, 2019 before being transferred, a year later, to the secure psychiatric facility at the Edenfield Centre.

Judge Baxter heard from psychiatrists that he has progressed well and he is now more stable on medication, with plans to support him better once he is released back into the community.

"He has dramatically improved compared to the dreadful state he was in when he committed these offences," stated Dr Simon Plunkett.

Judge Baxter sentenced Watson to a hospital order under Section 37 of the Mental Health Act where he will remain until doctors believe he is well enough to be released.