A homeless drug user has been jailed for ‘pummelling’ his girlfriend and biting the police officer who arrested him.

Troy Coaker over-reacted during a violent argument at the victim’s home in the centre of Barnstaple, leading her to flee into the street and seek help from a passing policeman.

Her face was so severely injured that she was taken to hospital with a suspected broken cheekbone but found to be suffering from severe bruising instead. She also had bruises to her back and leg.

Coaker, who has convictions for 104 previous offences including five for violence, was sofa surfing or living rough while spending most of his time drunk or high on drugs.

He kicked off in the police van after his arrest and bit the arm of a policeman who was trying to control him. The officer escaped uninjured because Coaker’s teeth did not penetrate his uniform.

Coaker, aged 32, whose last permanent address was Harbour Road, Seaton, admitted assault causing actual bodily harm on his ex-girlfriend and assault on an emergency worker and was jailed for a year and four months by Judge David Evans at Exeter Crown Court.

He told him: “The stills from the police bodycam showed clearly the injuries the victim sustained to her face and it is evident that she had been pummelled hard with multiple blows, as she was heard to say in hospital.

“You were initially cooperative after your arrest but then became volatile, threatening and aggressive and used your teeth as a weapon when who bit the officer."

Mr Thomas Faulkner, prosecuting, said police investigating an unconnected incident on Boutport Street, Barnstaple, on the evening of April 13 this year were approached by a woman with obvious facial injuries.

She was taken to hospital while Coaker was arrested at her flat and attacked an officer while being transported to a custody centre in a police van.

Mr Nick Lewin, defending, said Coaker’s offending has arisen from long-term issue with drink and drugs but there is now hope for the future because he wants to change and has succeeded in getting clean and sober while on remand in prison.

He overreacted during an argument with his partner in which he says he was hit by a bottle.