EVER since he was a little boy, all Daniel Turner wanted to be was a policeman.

As he grew up, he set his heart on a job in the force where he could try to make a difference to the community in which he lived.

Today his career lies in ruins after he was found guilty of assaulting a violent habitual car thief as he tried to arrest him and the whole incident was caught on CCTV.

PC Turner was given a 12-month conditional discharge and ordered to pay £300 court costs after appearing at magistrates' court.

PC Turner was attempting to arrest 22-year-old Sam Paskins following a vicious assault on a man and his girlfriend at a Southampton block of flats. Paskins was later sent to jail for four months for that attack.

The court was told how PC Turner - described as an honest man with the highest standards of professionalism and integrity - used "excessive force" when he kicked Paskins in the leg.

The court heard how the assault happened in the early hours of Saturday, February 12, last year after PC Turner and his colleagues received a 999 call following reports of an incident on the 13th floor of Copenhagen Towers in Weston, Southampton.

Blood On arrival they found Paskins outside, his hands and shirt covered in blood, and carried out a check by radio during which they discovered a warrant had been issued for the father-of-one's arrest for failing to turn up to court for breaching his community punishment order.

PC Turner arrested Paskins, of Havre Towers, and then walked him back to the police van with his colleague, holding Paskins by the arm.

Minutes later he broke free and ran from the officers into the darkness around the tower blocks off International Way. After giving chase, PC Turner rounded the corner of Hampton Towers and found Paskins sat on the floor at the doorway - his knees to his chest and hands dangling between.

The court heard how the officer thought he saw Paskins reach for his sock and, thinking he may be carrying a dangerous weapon, kicked him once in the leg.

Paskins, who had no injuries following the kick, told the court: "I didn't really want to go to the police station so I ran off."

Asked why he then stopped in the entrance of another tower block and sat down he said: "I just didn't want to run any more. I was a bit puffed out.

"I was hoping I wouldn't be seen. The police officers came around the corner to where I was sat. A police officer came up in front of me and kicked me in my leg.

"He said: That's for making me run.' "I was quite surprised. It was quite hard. I think I shouted a bit, saying: You can't kick me like that.'"

Describing what happened just before 3am, prosecutor Wendy Megeney told the court: "What he did was kick Mr Paskins out of malice for running off."

She added that the kick was "an unjustified use of force and therefore unlawful".

The court heard how Pc Turner has never denied the kick - but has always maintained that he was acting in self-defence.

The assault was captured on new CCTV cameras installed around the tower blocks, that had only just been put in place.

PC Turner, 27, told the court how when he was handcuffed and once again taken to the police van, Paskins taunted him about how he had a friend who worked for the CCTV department at South-ampton City Council and he would make a complaint.

Asked by his defence barrister Philip Stott about the moment he found Paskins crouched down against the wall following the chase, PC Turner, said: "I saw Sam and it was just natural for me to run towards him and recapture him. As I approached him to handcuff him I saw movement of his left hand.

"It was a movement downwards towards the floor. I thought he was getting me into a trap.

"I felt he was going for an implement - a screwdriver, knife, pliers, something sharp that could hurt me. I thought it was in his sock, hidden in his shoe, or in his hands."

He told the court he had the fear because of previous knowledge of Paskins.

"He's an habitual car thief, breaking into cars you need implements. I struck out immediately, kicked out at his left leg. I did it to prevent him going for this implement."

The court heard how seconds later, as PC Turner backed away from Paskins, he realised there was no implement and he felt "confused" that he had misread the situation.

He said claims he had dealt the blow because he was made to chase Paskins were "absolute rubbish".

But Mrs Megeney said police protocol on how to deal with a situation like that was not followed - that CS gas or an ASP could have been used first and that a "pre-emptive strike" like a kick was the very last.

She told PC Turner: "You kicked him deliberately and you were quite pleased with yourself for having done it.

"When vexed you responded inappropriately. Mr Paskins may be something of a low-life but he didn't do anything to deserve that kick."

Mitigating, Mr Stott said told the court that PC Turner had risen quickly through the ranks of Hampshire police and described the incident as "a moment of mistake, lasting a split second'' that led to the charges against him and subsequent conviction.

He said the matter had had "extreme consequences'' on his life and put strain on his relationships with others, adding that Dan had been very much "dreading a conviction'