A FORMER army sergeant mistreated his daughter and head butted a police officer while on holiday in Barrow last year, a court heard.

The dad, 33, who cannot be identified, got so drunk he lay down on a bench and his daughter was rescued by a passing stranger who saw the little girl was distressed.

Preston Crown Court heard the ex-soldier was staying at the Holiday Inn with his daughter, eight, and his girlfriend - who was not the youngster’s mum.

Hotel staff said the adults were so drunk and argumentative throughout the break they were forced to refund £600 of bookings after other guests complained.

Police were called to the hotel on the morning of July 20 after reports the man was drunk and behaving aggressively towards staff over the cost of the room.

During the incident the little girl stayed in the hotel foyer, frightened and crying, as she hid behind a plant pot.

Police warned the couple about their behaviour and the family returned to their room but a short time later the father and daughter left the hotel.

The little girl later told police she thought they were going to buy sweets but her father “snuck a drink with him”.

Brendan O’Leary, prosecuting, said: “She described her father as an alcoholic and even as an eight-year-old appears to demonstrate an understanding that he should not normally drink.”

She said while out her father had lay down on a bench and when she asked him to take her back to the hotel he swore at her and told her to go away.

A woman who was passing saw the upset girl and took her back to the Holiday Inn.

When her father returned to the hotel the adults began arguing again and a TV remote was thrown.

Hotel staff were concerned about the girl’s welfare, as they had not seen the family take any meals at the hotel, and when they checked the room, they found a pizza box containing breakfast cereal in the shower area and thought the little girl had been trying to feed herself.

The girl’s father was arrested but at the police station called the arresting officer names including ‘pikey’ and ‘paedo’.

As he was led to the cells the man head butted an officer, causing him a lump to the head and a headache.

Graeme Wilson, defending, told the court the veteran was suffering undiagnosed PTSD after serving tours in Afghanistan.

He is now in recovery for drug and alcohol misuse and has been making good progress on the 12 Steps program with the assistance of charity Spitalfields Crypt Trust.

Mr Wilson said: “He is embarrassed and ashamed of putting not only his daughter at risk but also his reaction to the police.”

He pleaded guilty to child neglect and assault of an emergency worker.

Judge Simon Newell said he would defer passing sentence until September 17 2021.

He said: “I am not putting it off and kicking it into the long grass without any purpose - I am putting it off so you can continue with the progress you are making.”

He ordered the defendant to continue living at the supported accommodation, to engage with the 12 steps and remain drug and alcohol free. He also ordered him to save £250 to contribute towards legal costs when he returns to court in September.