Grimsby Telegraph - - Front Page - By Mark Nay­lor Court Re­porter mark.nay­lor@reach­

A MAN who shot at a po­lice dog that was set on him after he vi­ciously stabbed a pen­sioner has been locked up for nine years.

He fired air gun pel­lets at the dog’s head, caus­ing it to shake fran­ti­cally, and also fired the gun at han­dler PC Ian Sweeney’s head and knee. His long sen­tence was to­day wel­comed by the Po­lice Fed­er­a­tion, who said they hoped it sent out a mes­sage that at­tacks on of­fi­cers would not be tol­er­ated.

Joshua Mur­ray, 21, pic­tured, of no fixed ad­dress, ad­mit­ted as­sault­ing the po­lice of­fi­cer, caus­ing ac­tual bod­ily harm, and caus­ing crim­i­nal dam­age to a po­lice dog on March 12. He also ad­mit­ted pos­sess­ing an im­i­ta­tion firearm and hand­gun and wound­ing the pen­sioner with in­tent.

Jeremy Evans, prose­cut­ing, told Grimsby Crown Court that PC Sweeney and dog Lo­gan con- fronted Mur­ray in Cor­po­ra­tion Road, after the ear­lier stab­bing in­ci­dent.

Mur­ray pointed a “sin­is­ter” ball-bear­ing gun at the of­fi­cer, who was shocked and feared for his safety. He warned the po­lice­man: “If you come near me, I’ll kill you.”

The of­fi­cer re­leased Lo­gan but Mur­ray fired the gun di­rectly at his head, with pel­lets hit­ting it. “The dog be­gan to shake its head fran­ti­cally,” said Mr

Evans. Mur­ray fired the gun at the of­fi­cer’s head, hit­ting him above an eye.

The po­lice­man “con­tin­ued to charge to­wards” Mur­ray and forced him back but Mur­ray warned him: “I’m tak­ing you with me.”

The of­fi­cer suf­fered mul­ti­ple pel­let wounds to his head and face from point-blank range and Mur­ray pointed the gun to­wards PC Sweeney’s knee and fired into it.

An armed re­sponse unit was called in and Mur­ray sur­ren­dered.

He was found with knives, car­tridges, pel­lets, a scalpel and cannabis.

PC Sweeney suf­fered bruis­ing but Lo­gan had made a good re­cov­ery, with no last­ing ef­fects.

Po­lice had been called in be­cause of an ear­lier in­ci­dent in which Mur­ray stabbed a 68-year-old man in a Grimsby door­way after ac­cus­ing him of be­ing a “nonce” and a “pae­dophile”.

There had been sex­ual ac­tiv­ity be­tween Mur­ray and the pen­sioner, who had paid him sig­nif­i­cant sums of money.

Mur­ray had de­manded £300 cash from the pen­sioner but it was not paid.

After the stab­bing, Mur­ray told a woman: “I have just stabbed a nonce down the street. Have a good day, love.”

The vic­tim suf­fered two stab wounds. An­drew Bai­ley, mit­i­gat­ing, said that Mur­ray acted out of char­ac­ter and had used only mi­nor vi­o­lence in the past.

The at­tack on the pen­sioner was pre­med­i­tated and the po­lice were only do­ing their job when they went to ar­rest Mur­ray.

He had been suf­fer­ing from prob­lems at the time but had shown re­morse. He was now free of drugs.

Judge Si­mon Jack said: “It must have been ex­tremely fright­en­ing for ev­ery­one in­volved in it. It was a ter­ri­fy­ing in­ci­dent.” Mur­ray was jailed for nine years and was given an in­def­i­nite re­strain­ing or­der con­cern­ing the pen­sioner.

The weapons found will be con­fis­cated. Fol­low­ing the hear­ing, Mr Evans said: “Mur­ray is clearly an un­pre­dictable and dan­ger­ous crim­i­nal who had amassed a col­lec­tion of weapons and im­i­ta­tion firearms. “It is only by great good for­tune and due to the first vic­tim wear­ing a thick over­coat at the time of the at­tack that this in­ci­dent did not re­sult in even more tragic con­se­quences.

“The po­lice dog han­dler re­ceived in­juries to his head as well as cuts and bruises. Through­out the in­ci­dent he was in fear of se­ri­ous in­jury.

“Po­lice dog Lo­gan also re­ceived gun-pel­let in­juries from the im­i­ta­tion firearm. Both thank­fully have since re­cov­ered.

“I hope the sen­tence passed to­day is some com­fort to his vic­tims.” Mean­while, the chair­man of Hum­ber­side Po­lice Fed­er­a­tion, which rep­re­sents po­lice of­fi­cers, Pe­ter Mus­grave, said: “It is quite a good sen­tence for what hap­pened. Nine years is ap­pro­pri­ate. The judge has clearly taken into ac­count all the fac­tors.

“With Ian do­ing his duty and the po­lice dog, the sen­tence seems to re­flect the grav­ity and it is what we would ex­pect of the judge.” He added: “This is a rel­a­tively top-end of­fence in the scale of as­saults on po­lice of­fi­cers. That is not to di­min­ish the daily ex­pe­ri­ence of spit­ting, punch­ing and kick­ing of our of­fi­cers.

“I hope this sends out a mes­sage. The Chief (Lee Free­man) has been very vo­cal in high­light­ing how un­ac­cept­able as­saults on po­lice of­fi­cers are. We all want that mes­sage to get out and the judge has taken that on board.” From next Thurs­day, sen­tences for those who at­tack emer­gency ser­vices per­son­nel will be tougher.

PC Ian Sweeney with po­lice dog Lo­gan.

PC Ian Sweeney and po­lice dog Lo­gan.

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