A policeman who allegedly smashed a man’s tooth out with his riot shield during the 2010 student protests said that it was “unlucky” he had been caught in the mouth.
Pc Andrew Ott, 36, was taped on his personal recording device threatening violence towards the crowds that had gathered near the Houses of Parliament.
It is alleged that when Royal Holloway student William Horner tried to break free from a kettled area on Parliament Square, Ott struck out with his shield, knocking out the student’s tooth.
He is also accused of conspiring with two colleagues to come up with a reason to falsely arrest the student after he was injured.
Recordings captured on the day showed that on a number of occasions Ott had talked about “getting” protesters.
Giving evidence at London’s Southwark Crown Court, he said that after a short break at around 8pm he heard another officer shout out, saying “stop”.
“The shout alerted me and I knew straight away from the tone and pitch, I knew something had happened or was about to happen. I was immediately alerted, I turned to my right and I saw someone running,” said Ott.
Jurors heard that he gave chase, eventually catching up with Mr Horner where he was trying to scale a fence.
Ott continued: “I believed he had done something or was about to do something – I wanted to contain him. I had full knowledge of what I could and couldn’t do and I wasn’t about to start attacking him.
“I bring my shield around – I believe it was on my left arm – and momentum, and also the fact that I bring my shield around my body, I collided with him.”
Jurors heard that Ott used the riot equipment to “create distance” between himself and Mr Horner.
“I struck him with the shield, yes. At that moment in time my threat assessment was high. He was a threat to me – I dealt with it as I saw fit.
“Hindsight is fantastic, would I have done something different? Absolutely. I wouldn’t be here. But I did what I did,” Ott told the court.
He continued: “I struck his upper body. If his head got hit, then it got hit – I didn’t aim for his head. To get a chipped tooth from a shield like that – unlucky.”
The incident was captured on the audio recording device that Ott had on his uniform, as were the clashes that took place earlier in the day.
Jurors heard one clip in which Ott was heard saying: “Poked the little c*** right in the eye”.
He admitted that he had also struck out with his shield on this instance, but added that he had “over-exaggerated” in his description of the incident.
When asked if he had poked the protester in the eye, he replied: “Probably, by accident.”
Ott denies one count of occasioning actual bodily harm, and one count of perverting the course of justice.
Pc Calvin Lindsay and Pc Thomas Barnes, both 31, also stand accused of the second offence.
It is said that after the alleged assault they came up with a reason to arrest Mr Horner and justify the attack.
Ott explained that on December 9, officers were under “intense attack” from the crowds that had gathered to protest against the increase in tuition fees, and described one particular protester as a “nightmare”.
The violent protests saw riot police pelted with missiles including rocks and concrete blocks, and statues in Parliament Square being daubed with graffiti.
Although questioned by police, no further action was taken against Mr Horner in connection with the incident.
Ott, of Rochester, Kent, denies one charge of assault occasioning actual bodily harm and a further charge of perverting the course of justice.
Lindsay, of Leytonstone, east London, and Barnes, of Greenhithe, Kent, both deny perverting the course of justice.
All three men are on restricted duties pending the outcome of proceedings. The trial continues.