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A policeman who rammed a fire hose down a handcuffed man’s throat during a brutal beatdown in a police station has been jailed.

Former Senior Constable Benjamin Price, 34, was today sentenced to 27 months in prison by Townsville District Court judge Stuart Durward but will be eligible for parole next July.

Price was sentenced after pleading guilty to four counts of assault against three victims in Airlie Beach, in north Queensland in 2007 and 2008.

In sentencing Mr Durward described Price as a “thug” and his actions as “cowardly and contemptible”.

Price’s actions only came to light when Price was reported by female police whistleblower constable Bree Sonter and forced to resign amid an internal affairs investigation.

In CCTV footage shown in court last week, Price can be seen punching and kneeing a bleeding, handcuffed Timothy Steele, 23 at the time, in May 25, 2008.

Price puts him in a brutal spine lock and leaves the commercial diver with a broken nose and two blackened eyes, cuts and bruising to the face.

Other police officers watch on but none intervened as Price stuffs a running fire hose into his victim’s mouth, nearly drowning him in a five minute ordeal, before Mr Steele slumps forward unmoving.

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