Drunk female sergeant headbutts soldier at Army social event - keeps drink in hand

Sergeant Michelle Cook, 33, became so incensed when a male soldier accused her of pushing a colleague she lashed out at him “in the heat of the moment”.

The incident happened at an ‘alcohol-fueled’ event at a racecourse in Catterick, North Yorkshire in July 2019.

A court martial heard there was a loud thud when ‘aggressive’ Sgt Cook headbutted Gunner Jermaine Gemmoth – while keeping her drink in her hand.

Sgt Cook – who was described as ‘compassionate and caring’ – had drunk heavily at the Army social outing.

She is a sergeant in the Royal Artillery based in Dorset at Bovingdon barracks and has multiple tours under her belt.

However, a judge warned that ‘Sergeants do not act like this’ in regard to her conduct.

The judge stated that senior soldiers in her position are ‘meant to stop these kind of outbursts.’

Bulford Military Court, Wiltshire, heard the annual booze-fuelled event is renowned within the Army for its heavy drinking and that Sgt Cook and her colleagues had their own marquee away from the public.

Captain Simon Ralph, prosecuting, said Sgt Cook headbutted Gnr Gemmoth after a scuffle broke out in a crowded staircase.

He said: “On a unit outing to Catterick Racecourse she had too much alcohol and became drunk.

“The main event occurred in the stairs of the racecourse where, due to the close proximity of people, there was a bit of a scuffle.

“Someone fell down the stairs and a Bombardier was bumped into and his nose started bleeding.

“Immediately after that Gnr Gemmoth tried to intervene and accused Sgt Cook of deliberately pushing that person down the stairs.

“Her response was quite simply to headbutt him in the face.”

Capt Ralph said the headbutt was done with “six out of 10 force” and said there was an audible “thud” before Sgt Cook was restrained.

In a statement, the single soldier said: “I drank a significant amount of alcohol. During the meeting I accidentally collided with someone and [Gnr Gemmoth] accused me of knocking him over.

“The headbutt was done in the heat of the moment. I accept that it was misconduct.”

Assistant Judge Advocate General Alan Large fined her £2,000 after she admitted misconduct through alcohol.

Judge Large said: ‘You went out with your regiment on a social event for soldiers to enjoy themselves and have a bit of fun.

‘It’s an annual event and anyone organising it knows there’s going to be lot of alcohol drunk and they need to rely on senior staff not having too much to drink and cause trouble.

‘But this time it was you who got drunk and got disorderly, unpleasant, aggressive and violent and that’s just what people like you are meant to prevent so this is serious.

‘Sergeants do not behave like this.’

Judge Large said Sgt Cook narrowly avoided being demoted due to an unblemished record and a glowing testimonial from her commanding officer.

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