A man who bit down on a police officers finger, causing the officer to sustain a severe injury, has been jailed.
Liam Byron, 23, was sentenced to two years and 28 days’ imprisonment at Woolwich Crown Court on Thursday 30th April.
Byron had pled guilty at the same court during an earlier hearing to escaping from lawful custody and causing grievous bodily harm with the intent to resist arrest.
On Sunday 2nd February, PC Jame Robinson, along with a Special Constable, was on a routine patrol when they noticed that Byron dropped a bag and got onto a waiting train at Bexleyheath Station.
The officers searched the bag and found various items which they believed had been stolen from a local store. Enquiries which were carried out later confirmed that the items had been stolen.
Byron had managed to evade the officers by jumping on the train which left before the officers arriving at the area where the bag had been dumped.
While on a different train, PC Robinson spotted Byron boarding a train from Welling Station. He was in the company of another male.
PC Robinson circulated the sighting via his personal radio so that his Met & British Transport Police colleagues could locate and detain Byron.
When the train that Byron was on pulled into Eltham Station, PC Robinson believed that Byron had got off the train and that he had jumped over a fence.
As PC Robinson entered the carriage which Byron had been in, he found him still in the carriage, sat with the other male.
PC Robinson spoke to Byron and informed him that he was under arrest on suspicion of theft.
As the officer attempted to place Byron in cuffs, he started to resist and said to PC Robinson ‘not today, mate’.
Byron managed to get one of his hands free and used the quick-cuffs as a weapon against the officer, striking PC Robinson in the head several times.
A struggle between PC Robinson and Byron then ensued, during which Byron bit down on the officer’s finger during the violent attack.
In a statement read to the court, PC Robinson said:
“I felt Byron increasing the pressure on my finger with his teeth, and I believe that he was fully intending to sever it.”
Despite the severe pain, PC Robinson did not let go of Byron and continued to hold onto him as the train pulled into Kidbrooke Station.
As the train stopped and the doors opened, Byron, along with the other male, managed to escape and they fled from the train.
PC Robinson ran after the pair, but they managed to flee the scene.
Two days later (4th February) officers from Emergency Response Team’ D’ (Bexleyheath) carried out local enquiries to find Byron. He was found sleeping rough in Welling Town Centre.
During his arrest, he was smirking and giggling.
As Byron was being booked into custody, he turned to the arresting officer and said: “You know I can kick off if I want to; you ask James Robinson about it”.
Detectives from the South East Basic Command Unit’s CID led the investigation. They tried to interview Byron several times, but he refused to be interviewed by officers.
He was subsequently charged with theft, escaping from lawful custody and grievous bodily harm (wounding with intent to resist arrest).
PC Robinson suffered from several puncture wounds to his finger, which has caused permanent scarring and temporary nerve damage.
However, despite the injuries he suffered, PC Robinson was back at work in a restricted capacity the very next day and has since made a full recovery.
PC Robinson, who is attached to Welling Safer Neighbourhoods Team, said:
“I’d like to thank the detectives from SE CID for building a strong case against Byron which left him with no choice but to plead guilty and resulted in him getting a custodial sentence.
“I appreciate that as a police officer I sometimes have to put myself in harm’s way; however I did not go to work that day expecting someone to try and bite my finger off in such a vicious attack.
“In the six and a half years, I have been a police officer, I have never been victim to such a serious assault. The physical scars and nerve damage are one thing, but what is even worse is the uncertainty of whether I have contracted anything from the bite.
“Fortunately I don’t think I have, but I’ll not know for sure until August when my tests have concluded.
“I am happy with the sentence Byron has been given, and I feel this sends a clear message that violence against police officers will not be tolerated.”
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