A serial offender who violently assaulted two police officers and police dog Elvis has been jailed for more than six years.
Mark Day, 33, of Moot Close, Downton, appeared at Gloucester Crown Court yesterday (December 16) and was sentenced to six years and six months imprisonment.
He was also fined £170.
At an earlier hearing in October, Day pleaded guilty to aggravated taking a vehicle without consent and driving whilst disqualified, attempted GBH Section 18 on a police officer and ABH on a police officer.
The Judge in the trial also took into account the assault by Day on police dog Elvis.
On 1st May, Wiltshire Police received a report that a Land Rover Discovery had been stolen from a farm in Downton. The following day, while officers were on duty in the area, they spotted the vehicle on the A31.
The vehicle failed to stop for police, and a pursuit was authorised initially by Dorset Police which continued into Wiltshire and lasted a total of 52 minutes.
The vehicle continued at high speed. In some areas, Day was driving at more than double the speed limit. He also clocked up speeds of 100 mph in 30 mph zones as he undertook other vehicles, putting the lives of innocent members of the public at considerable risk.
The National Police Air Service (NPAS) also assisted providing commentary to officers as they maintained their distance from Day whilst not losing sight of him.
The vehicle stopped in Stonehenge Road, and a man and woman were seen to decamp.
Police dog handler Darren Willis along with police dog Elvis arrived on the scene just as Day tried to flee on foot.
Assisted by officers from Dorset Police, PC Wllis and PD Elvis located Day.
Day, who was armed with a catapult, then started to fire large metal nuts and stones at the police officers and police dog, causing one of the officers to sustain a head injury. At the same time, PC Willis was also injured after an object, fired by the catapult, struck his side.
PD Elvis continued trying to stop Day but was kicked several times before he too had objects fired at him.
Day was eventually detained by PD Elvis and arrested. He was found to be a provisional driving licence holder and had been disqualified from driving on two previous occasions.
He also has a history of violent assaults, including assaults on officers and a history of carrying weapons.
Dog handler PC Willis said:
“The fact that PD Elvis had been struck by items which had the potential to cause him significant harm caused me great concern and distress – fortunately, he was not severely injured nor required veterinary attention.
“This incident left me feeling upset and angry and questioning how someone could be so cruel and evil towards an animal.
“The items I was struck with could have hit me anywhere on my head, causing injuries that would have put me in hospital and potentially finished my career as a police officer which would have been devastating.
“If PD Elvis had been struck in the head, it doesn’t even bare thinking about what could have happened to him – he is my partner in both work and at home and I wouldn’t be able to do the job without him.”
In a separate victim impact statement, the second officer who was assaulted – a specialist firearms officer – described the assault he suffered.
He said: “The pain to my head was unbearable, but I was unable to remain on duty.
“When I arrived home, I was greeted by my six-year-old son, who began to cry, asking me what had happened. He was inconsolable.
“The incident also affected my wife, who was upset and worried for me.
“I required the following three days off to recuperate. The items I had been struck with could have hit me in the eye – I do not want to think about the possible injuries this could have caused and the prospect of losing my eyesight and further implications it could have led to for me and my family.
“If I’d lost my sight I would not be able to continue to perform my role as a firearms officer and would inevitably have had to leave the force.”
Chief Constable Kier Pritchard said:
“This incident left two of our officers with serious injuries. I have viewed the footage from the helicopter myself and can see that Day was intent on causing injury to these officers and PD Elvis, and whilst in the process of detaining the defendant, a third officer was bitten by the dog as an indirect consequence of Day’s actions.
“The risk of serious injury by all involved was significant.
“This was a deliberate act which gave no forethought to the potential for serious injury to those officers, or for the wider implications that this may have on my resourcing to keep our communities safe, nor was there any consideration given to the impact this behaviour would likely have on families and colleagues of those involved.
“This case is a prime example of the dangers many of our officers and police dogs face on a daily basis – they put themselves in harm’s way to protect our communities, and I am extremely proud of the dedication they show to the force.
“Assaults like this should never be seen as part of their job, and I will personally do all that I can to not only support officers who are assaulted while on duty, but also support them through the court process so that justice can be served.
“It is clear from the statements provided to the courts by the officers involved, that the impact reaches further afield than just themselves – these officers are human beings like you and I and many of them return home to families including young children who are often understandably extremely distressed by the news that their parent or loved one has been injured in the course of their duty.”
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