A WOMAN with mental and physical health problems attacked a police officer who was trying to help her, York magistrates heard.

Doctors initially believed that Amy Margaret Elizabeth Garrity, 26, had broken the officer's wrist as she repeatedly punched and kicked her on New Year's Eve, said Cathy Turnbull, prosecuting.

The policewoman had just pulled her to safety as she stepped in front of a car, dressed in a surgical gown and walking with a zimmer frame.

The officer and a colleague had been waiting with Garrity at her home until the mental health crisis team could arrive. Hospital and ambulance staff were concerned about her safety after she had discharged herself from York Hospital.

Magistrates ordered Garrity to pay the officer £500 compensation and do a 20-week nightly curfew from 7am to 7pm.

Garrity, of Kingsway West, Acomb, denied causing actual bodily harm to the police officer but was convicted in her absence when she failed to attend her trial. She also admitted possessing heroin and cannabis in a separate incident.

For her, Andrew Craven said she had not been trying to kill herself, but had simply wanted to cross the road.

She had grown bored waiting for more than an hour with the police for the crisis team, so she had set off for her grandfather's address.

The policewoman's actions had been very painful because she suffered from rheumatoid arthritis, he said. She also avoided being touched because of something that had happened to her in her childhood.

She may have a bipolar disorder and had tried to kill herself several times. She also had drug problems.

Ms Turnbull said a week after the incident, doctors decided the officer's wrist injury was not a bone fracture but a major bruise.

At 11pm on the day of the trial, staff called police to deal with Garrity because of the way she was behaving in the hospital. She had heroin and cannabis on her for her own use.

Mr Craven said she used the drugs to deal with the pain of her arthritis. On the day of the trial, she had been unable to attend because she hurt too much and had taken painkillers.