A Princetown man has been jailed for 20 years for brutally stabbing and seriously injuring two police officers and for historic sexual offences against a child.
Jon Ross was sentenced to 12 years for his assault on two officers and eight years for historic sexual offences against a child, which are to be served consecutively.
Jon Ross subjected PCs Darren Brimacombe and Timothy Willett to a ‘savage’ attack after they had responded to a disturbance at an address in the Devon village.
Ross burst from his parked car and stabbed and slashed at both officers with a knife after they located him in the early hours of 9 July 2021.
PC Brimacombe suffered a serious arm injury and cuts to his head and face. PC Willett sustained serious injuries to his arm and fingers.
Both officers needed hospital treatment and have undergone surgery as part of their recoveries.
Neither officer has returned to frontline duties as a result of the incident, and both are looking for other roles within the force.
Ross, 62, of Burrator Avenue, admitted to two counts of assault occasioning grievous bodily harm, with intent.
He had also pleaded guilty to charges of affray and assault on a previous occasion.
He was sentenced to 12 years for these offences.
Ross had previously been found guilty of four sexual offences against a child, in a trial that concluded in April, for which he was sentenced to eight years in prison.
He was sentenced to a total of 20 years in prison by Judge Simon Carr at Truro Crown Court on Thursday 20 October.
He was told he would have to serve two-thirds of that before he will become eligible to be released on licence.
Ross will have to sign the Sex Offender’s Register for the rest of his life.
Judge Carr praised the victim of the sexual offences and said:
“Your victim gathered the courage to approach the police to report what had happened to her.”
And in referring to the serious assault on the officers, he said:
“Frenzied is a term overused by the court but not in this case.
“Armed with a knife, you stabbed out repeatedly causing permanent injury to both. The psychological damage has been immense. You went on to attack two other officers.”
The court heard how police were called to reports of a disturbance at a property late on 8 July 2021.
Officers were told Ross had been drinking alcohol, had taken his car keys and left the address and that the caller was unsure of his state of mind.
PCs Brimacombe and Willett, who knew Ross from previous community work, searched the area and located his vehicle.
They found him in the driver’s seat and drinking from a bottle.
Both officers calmly spoke to Ross despite him being verbally abusive and aggressive towards them.
Without warning, Ross swung at and narrowly missed PC Willett with a knife.
He then exploded out of the open car door and attacked PC Brimacombe who was repeatedly stabbed as they grappled on the ground.
The officer suffered lacerations to his scalp and face – nearly having the end of his nose cut off.
Ross stabbed PC Brimacombe in the arm, causing a significant arterial bleed.
PC Willett then struggled with Ross and pulled him off his injured colleague.
He was stabbed in his forearm and sustained finger injuries as he wrestled the blade from Ross’s grasp.
PC Willett deployed his Taser to subdue Ross, allowing PC Brimacombe to apply handcuffs and detain him.
Both officers then activated emergency buttons on their radios to request immediate help.
PC Brimacombe’s arm was bleeding so heavily, a police-issue tourniquet had to be applied to the wound.
Ross was later found to be twice over the legal limit of alcohol to drive a vehicle.
Devon & Cornwall Police has released shocking images of the scene, with the blessing of PCs Brimacombe and Willett, to highlight the dangers faced by officers.
Detective Constable Craig Ferguson said after the sentencing hearing:
“We are pleased with the outcome in what has been a lengthy and detailed police investigation.
“Jon Ross employed an extreme and savage level of violence, with a bladed weapon, to severely injure the two police officers.
“The officers were on duty and in uniform when they attended to try and help him. They knew him personally from previous dealings where they had successfully helped him.
“The officers sought to speak with him and tried to help, but he responded by repeatedly stabbing them in a sustained attack.
“As a result, Jon Ross has been imprisoned for a lengthy period of time, meaning that a significant risk has now been removed from our local community.
“I have worked as a police officer for the past 18 years and can say that this assault is without doubt the worst incident of its kind that I have dealt with.
“The officers conducted themselves with the utmost professionalism, both before and after this terrible ordeal, and we have concluded that their approach and conduct throughout was of a very high standard.
“There was nothing that they could do to plan for or avoid the extreme level of violence that Jon Ross had in mind.
“This incident highlights the level of risk that our police officers can face when attending incidents.
“I would like to take the opportunity to commend my colleagues and those who attended and gave them immediate first aid at the scene.
“All of the officers concerned are a true credit to Devon & Cornwall Police and they should be proud of their professionalism, both at the time and throughout the duration of this investigation.
“I would like to take this opportunity to underline that West Devon remains a safe and pleasant place to live.
“Our communities are very supportive and work well with our local policing teams and as such an incident like this remains an incredibly rare event in Devon and Cornwall.”
Speaking about the sentencing of Ross for the charges of sexual abuse of a child, Detective Inspector Debbie Wyatt, who was the senior investigating officer, said:
“We welcome today’s sentence.
“I would like to thank the victim for coming forward.
“Her incredible bravery in reporting this matter and supporting a prosecution has resulted in bringing this offender to justice.”
“Sexual assaults have devastating impact on victims and Devon &Cornwall Police are committed to working the criminal justice system to make our communities safer.
“Anyone who may have been affected by anything raised in this article can contact police via our website here or by calling 101.
“The freephone NSPCC helpline 0808 800 5000 is available for anyone to report or seek advice about non-recent abuse. Calls can be made anonymously.”
Assistant Chief Constable Steve Parker said:
“I would like to praise the courage shown by the sexual assault victim.
“This is an important reminder that such reports will always be taken seriously by the police and justice will be sought and we would always encourage victims to come forward.”
He went on to say: “The assault on the officers reflects the dangers and challenges police face on a daily basis, despite this force area being one of the safest places to live in the country.
“Our officers provide an amazing service to the public and demonstrate personal commitment, courage and dedication. They understand risk comes with the nature of policing but being assaulted on duty should never be condoned or seen as ‘part of the job’.
“Devon & Cornwall Police will always seek to pursue and prosecute those who behave in this way.
“This incident could all too easily have resulted in a more tragic conclusion.
“I would like to take the opportunity to praise the bravery of PCs Brimacombe and Willett and acknowledge the actions taken by their colleagues and other emergency service workers who came to their aid, whose actions and professionalism under difficult circumstances played a huge part in preventing an even worse outcome.
“I would also like to commend DC Ferguson for his professionalism and diligence in bringing this investigation to a successful conclusion.
“Finally, I would thank the public of West Devon, and beyond, for the support they showed for the officers and the police service following this incident, this was very much appreciated at what was an extremely traumatic time for all involved.”
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