AN alleged Army deserter used his 15-month-old daughter as a human shield to stop police getting into his flat while he tried to escape through a window, a court heard.

Jon Joe Teague, of London Road, Leigh, was arrested on February 24 after police were called to his home over a domestic assault.

Basildon Crown Court heard the 25-year-old joined the Army four years ago but has allegedly been absent without leave for the last two years because of an issue arising from an “initiation ceremony.”

Carolyn Gardiner, prosecuting, said Teague assaulted his partner after flying into a jealous rage when she came home late from the pub, while he was babysitting their 15-month-old child.

The assault involved smacking a phone out of the woman’s hand and shoving her in the chest, which caused her to fall to the ground.

Police were called and while checking their systems they found Teague was wanted on a court martial warrant.

Miss Gardiner said: “Mr Teague was told that he was being arrested for that warrant and he went back inside the flat and closed the door.

“He is described as putting the child in front of the door in order to prevent the police from kicking the door in.

“He then managed to escape by the window. He later said he had too much time to think. He knew what was likely to come to him if he went back to the Army and he decided to get away.

“He denied using his daughter to prevent the police entering the property. He said he put her on the sofa and said goodbye to her.”

The soldier handed himself in at Southend police station on March 17.

Matthew Bone, mitigating, said Teague made the decision to run because, despite being absent from the Army, he was working and wanted to pick up a final pay cheque for his family.

Mr Bone said although Teague is officially AWOL, the regimental boxer has returned to his barracks in Colchester on four occasions in order to seek a discharge.

He said: “This was a man who wanted a career in the military. An incident arose while he was in the regiment in relation to certain initiation ceremonies. It was that that caused him to desert.”

Judge David Owen-Jones questioned why Teague’s case had not been dealt with by the Army on the occasions he returned to barracks.

He said: “It’s extraordinary for him to have been going back and them doing nothing about it.”

He handed Teage a six-month prison sentence for the escape, with four months for the assault and one month for the criminal damage, to run concurrently.

He added: “I understand you face a court martial process. I leave that to the court and say no more about it.”