A travel agent assaulted a police officer while drowning his sorrows after the deaths of three Justin Timberlake fans in a road crash, a court heard.

Former Surrey police constable Simon Shaw, 28, of Highfield Court, Furness Green, Crawley, lost one of his colleagues in the horror smash and received counselling at work.

Sisters Sonal, 24, and Krupa Mulji, 22, and their cousin Kiran Vaidya, 21, were killed on the fast lane of the M25 in the accident last month.

Bow Street Magistrates Court heard Shaw went berserk after he was arrested for being drunk and disorderly in a Covent Garden bar a few days later.

Shaw punched and kicked PC Navin Thammanina while being searched in the cells.

He was meant to appear in court two days later, but Shaw, who now manages a travel agency, attended his dead workmate's funeral instead.

Sarah Wood, defending, said: "The reason he wasn't able to attend on May 23 was a funeral of a work colleague.

"That work colleague you may have read was one of the victims in the M25 motorway crash where two sisters and two cousins were attending a Justin Timberlake concert. One of the victims was employed with Mr Shaw. That was the reason he could not attend.

"More significantly, that was the reason he began to drink more heavily than usual on May 21. The accident happened the Saturday before that week. He obviously faced more stress then other colleagues, as they were turning to him for support."

Miss Wood said his father had also been admitted to hospital that week.

"He accepts he was drunk and disorderly," she said. "He accepts he acted entirely inappropriately on assaulting a police constable. This was a week of extreme stress and pressure for him."

Mubeene Cockar-Khan, prosecuting, had said Shaw was drunk when he walked into the bar.

"He made a nuisance of himself to patrons of the bar, resulting in complaints to staff," Ms Cockar-Khan said. When the manager was called, Shaw became "insulting and abusive" towards him and then pushed a doorman away. Police were called and Shaw just smiled when the officers put the allegations to him.

Shaw continued swearing as he was taken to Charing Cross police station, the court heard.

"He was taken to the cells for searching and began to struggle. During the struggle he hit an officer with a glancing blow and kicked him also."

Shaw, a father-of-two, admitted being drunk and disorderly and assaulting a police officer.

The court was told Shaw earns £24,000 a year before tax.

District Judge Caroline Tubbs told Shaw: "For the assault charge, a prison sentence is an appropriate sentence. A community penalty is not suitable."

Shaw will return for sentence on July 4.