barney barnes
PC Barney Barnes retired from West Midlands Police last year at the age of 66 after 25 years of service West Midlands Police

A sex worker who launched a "venomous" and violent attack on Britain's oldest police officer has been jailed.

Foul-mouthed Aurora Gronan, 40, lashed out at PC Cornell "Barney" Barnes – who was honoured by the Queen with an MBE in 2008 – and hurled a stream of abuse, calling him "a n****r" and "a c**t".

The drug-fuelled rant came after grandfather-of-two PC Barnes had been called to reports of a disturbance at a house in Hartlepool Rood, Coventry, in September 2015.

Gronan, of Hillfields, Coventry, admitted racially aggravated common assault and was jailed for ten months at Warwick Crown Court on Monday (24 July), The Sun reported.

Judge Andrew Lockhart QC told the defendant: "I have read PC Barnes's statement.

"He was the subject of venomous words from you, and I have absolutely no doubt he is right when he says young children saw and heard what was said. These are vile offences, and they strike at the heart of our community.

"That terrible racial abuse continued for a number of minutes, and you have a previous conviction for exactly the same type of behaviour.

"People who use this type of vile abuse, particularly towards members of our community who are seeking to assist, commit very serious offences."

The court heard how PC Barnes – known affectionately as the "Sheriff of Hillfields" – went to the property in Coventry after a report of a disturbance.

He found the occupier, a man in his late 60s, complaining that Gronan had been banging on his door, demanding to be let in.

The man said when he opened the door, she entered and demanded a cigarette, before going upstairs to sleep in a bed.

When PC Barnes tried to rouse Gronan from her sleep, she kicked out and hit the man, despite him being already injured and wearing a neck brace.

She then lashed out at PC Barnes, leaving him with a cut to the chin, and hurled racist abuse at the officer.

Alexander Pritchard-Jones, defending, said: "She was passed out through drink and drugs that night, so when she was woken by these two men in her room, she lashed out. It was entirely unacceptable, and she accepts that."

The court heard Gronan had 37 previous convictions for 77 offences, including robberies in 2001, 2008 and 2010, assaulting a police officer in 2004 and a racially aggravated public order offence in 2012, as well as many for prostitution and theft.

Pritchard-Jones said his client had "the most horrendous upbringing" from the age of 16, adding: "No-one of 16 is voluntarily selling her body on the streets of Coventry."

She had become addicted to drink and drugs, and there had been a cycle of offending.

PC Barnes, a former soldier, retired from West Midlands Police last year at the age of 66 after more than 25 years as a police officer.

He received an MBE in the 2008 New Honours List for his dedication to neighbourhood policing.