A police officer who believed he would die after being attacked in Wellingborough last year has recounted what happened after his attacker was sent to prison.
At about 10:45 hours on June 28, 2022, information was passed to Northamptonshire Police that a man in the Swansgate car park area of the town was seen to be carrying what looked like a gun slip – a bag designed to carry a long-barrelled firearm which would later be found to contain an air rifle.
The man was 57-year-old Max Hallam, previously of Wellingborough, and Police Sergeant Dave Cayton, who was at Wellingborough Police Station at the time, deployed to the multi-storey car park to find him.
When Sergeant Cayton approached Hallam, he informed him that he was going to be detained under Section 47 of the Firearms Act for the purpose of a search.
Hallam immediately became confrontational and opened the boot of his vehicle where the rifle bag could be seen.
Sergeant Cayton attempted to establish control of the weapon, but at this point, Hallam launched a savage attack on him – punching Sergeant Cayton to the head and face until he fell to the ground.
Then, climbing on top of him, Hallam began pressing down on Sergeant Cayton’s chest, restricting his breathing and slowly suffocating him.
Sergeant Cayton recalls: “I was struggling to breathe because of the pressure on my chest and felt I was never going to escape.
“What happened on that day are events that will never leave me. I genuinely believed I would die.”
When staff in the police control were unable to get in contact with PS Cayton, another unit was sent to the scene as back-up.
The secondary unit arrived just in time and forced Hallam to give up after deploying their taser.
Hallam would go on to be charged with intentional suffocation.
As a result of the incident, Sergeant Cayton suffered multiple injuries, including a haemorrhaged right eye, bruising, reddening and multiple abrasions.
Hallam appeared at Northampton Crown Court on Monday (January 16), where he pleaded guilty to intentional suffocation. He will be sentenced at the same court next month on February 17.
Chief Constable Nick Adderley, said:
“The protection of my officers is something that is incredibly close to my heart and incidents like this truly chill me to my core.
“None of them come to work to be assaulted and this was an utterly horrifying attack on a dedicated and hardworking sergeant who has shown an incredible sense of duty during his entire career with Northamptonshire Police.
“An attack on a police officer is not only an attack on the uniform but on a person – a person with a family who love them and a family hoping that they will come home safe every night. Assaulting an officer will never ever become ‘part of the job’ and we will come for you with the full force of the law if you choose to attack one of our officers.
“I am pleased to see Max Hallam plead guilty to this awful crime and I hope his sentence reflects the seriousness of the offence.
“Finally, I want to thank the officers in CID, particularly the officer in the case DC Neil Carr, DS Andrew Barnes and DI Hayley Thurston, who have diligently and professionally investigated this attack, resulting in this guilty plea.
“And also to the officers from Response who came to Dave’s aid that day and saved him from Max Hallam – thank you.”
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I am obviously being a bit thick here, but what is the difference between intentional suffocation and attempted murder? If you are intentionally suffocating someone, success will result in death. Given this was intentional, surely malice aforethought makes this a deliberate attempt on someone’s life. When does this not become attempted murder, which very nearly succeeded?
Perhaps intentional suffocation carries a shorter sentence. Who knows? In the interests of Hallam’s human rights, he will be out in time for Christmas. Nothing would surprise me in this mad world of ours.