A Cleveland Police officer who thought he was going to die when his throat was slashed in a brutal assault has said he’s relieved his attacker is now behind bars.
The officer said: “You walk into this job to an unknown risk every single day. But it has taken this to happen to me to realise the true danger of what is out there, who’s out there, and to always be on your guard – you can’t slip up ever because it could be fatal.”
The officer – who has asked not to be named – had been trying to arrest a drug dealer, Aaron Gray, in Middlesbrough last June when he was attacked by two men who punched and kicked him.
Then Gray pinned him down, pulled out a kitchen knife and cut his throat.
Gray fled the scene, but was arrested following a large manhunt.
Despite the serious injuries inflicted upon the officer, and the nature of the cowardly attack, Gray was charged with assault occasioning actual bodily harm and possession of an offensive weapon, and this month was sentenced to five years behind bars.
The officer said: “It’s one of those things you never think is going to happen to you.
“But my initial thought was, when he’s on top of me, when I see the knife, that I was going to die, genuinely believing it was game over.”
Fortunately, the officer made a full physical recovery from the four-inch cut to his throat, but he said he is a “lot more cautious now, especially when I’m going out single-crewed, as to what could happen”.
Unsurprisingly he was psychologically affected by the attack, but says he received a lot of help and support.
He said: “After the incident, I was referred straight for a TRiM meeting to discuss the event and how it affected me. And I spent a bit of time with the force’s wellbeing department and received counselling after the incident.
“That was helpful because it helped me to get a few other things off my chest as well.
“I would always say to someone, if they’ve experienced a traumatic incident like that, just take the support that the force offers, it does make a difference.”
He added that the support he received from colleagues, friends and supervising officers was also “massively helpful for me”.
The officer said he was pleased with the court’s sentencing and that it had given him a sense of closure.
He said: “When I heard that [Gray] was sentenced to five years, I was not only relieved that there was closure to it, but I was pleased because five years is a hefty amount of time. A lot can change in five years, and that’s a lot of time for someone to reflect.”
The officer added: “I’m trying to take the positives of it. I’ve learned now to expect the unexpected at any possible time, and it’s one thing I’d implore to anyone who does this job.”
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