NINE YEARS FOR ATTACKER WHO SHOT POLICE DOG AND HANDLER
PENSIONER VICIOUSLY STABBED
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.