Senior officers from Cleveland Police have ‘welcomed’ a 5-year sentence handed to a man who admitted violently assaulting a police officer in Middlesbrough last year.
As the PC was making an arrest on Athol Street on 19th June, he was punched, pinned down and had his throat cut with a knife by 31-year-old Aaron Gray as another male held him down.
After leaving the police officer with a four-inch slash to his throat, Gray fled the scene.
An urgent manhunt got underway, and Gray was arrested in Newcastle on 23rd June 2021.
Bizarrely, despite sliting the police officers throat, Gray was charged with assault occasioning actual bodily harm and possessing an offensive weapon.
The career criminal also admitted two other offences; possession of a Class ‘A’ drug and possession of an offensive weapon, from an earlier incident on May 12 when he was caught selling crack cocaine on Peel Street in Middlesbrough.
Gray was carrying a Samurai sword with a 60cm blade at the time of his arrest.
Cleveland Police’s Head of Crime John Bent said:
“Our officers and staff work tirelessly to keep our communities safe – often in very challenging circumstances – and any form of assault against them will simply never ever be tolerated.
“The officer received immediate and on-going welfare and wellbeing support from the force and thankfully he has made a full recovery from what must have been a very traumatic experience.
“Gray has already spent months on remand and he will now spend a further lengthy period in prison where he will have time to reflect on his actions and their consequences.”
Despite senior officers saying that they were ‘pleased’ with the sentence handed to Gray, social media users took to Cleveland Police’s Facebook page to share their disgust at what they felt was a lenient sentence.
One person said: ‘You are happy with that ffs’
Another tagged in Steve Turner, Cleveland’s Police & Crime Commissioner, in the post and said: ‘a lot of people unhappy with the sentence given and the fact the headline says senior officers ‘welcome this sentence’. Would you consider challenging this?’
Someone else said: ‘5 years are you joking? Measley 5 years for someone who clearly doesn’t know how to behave in society. Police officers deserve more. This is just utter disrespect. Does that officers life only deserve 5 year, he was on deaths doorstep?!?!’
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