A heroic police officer managed to detain a violent offender despite being savagely hit over the head three times with a bottle of wine.
PC Joanne Aitken was struck while apprehending Anthony Woodhead Robertson in Moston on 15 May 2018, causing a deep laceration wound to her head.
In a victim statement read out today (15.02.19) in court, she thanked the members of public who came to her aid – saying that their assistance reminded her of why she has spent more than two decades as a front-line officer, protecting communities.
Robertson (18/07/1979) of HMP Manchester, formerly of Floral Court, Salford had consumed a cocktail of alcohol before being seen on St Mary’s Road, Moston attempting to grab female members of the public as they walked past.
PC Aitken responded and while approaching Robertson asked him to lower the bottle of wine in his hand.
Instead, he raised the bottle and struck her on the back of the head.
Despite being hit two more times, PC Aitken was able to draw her baton and strike Robertson’s legs.
Having struck the officer multiple times, Robertson then attempted to run away from the scene but PC Aitken then rugby tackled him to the ground.
He was restrained on the floor with help from members of the public before further patrols arrived and he was arrested.
In interview, Robertson said he’d consumed a mixture of alcohol including strong cider, lager and two bottles of wine.
At Manchester Crown Court, Crown Square this morning (Friday 15 February 2019), Robertson was sentenced to 12 years and six months in prison after pleading guilty to section 18 assault, as well as charges of sexual assault, indecent exposure and outraging public decency relating to separate incidents prior to the assault on PC Aitken.
He is also subject to a sexual harm prevention order for life.
In a victim statement to
“I have always taken pride in the fact that prior to this incident I have never had to use my baton.
“I have dealt with countless volatile situations, but have always managed them without resorting to such means.
“The simple fact is that this was a vicious unprovoked attack with no warning given.
“It was the middle of the day. I approached the male calmly and politely. There were clearly people watching, yet he was still capable of hitting me forcibly and repeatedly over the head with a large bottle containing liquid, and would have continued to try and hurt me had the members of the public not run to my aid.
“It begs the question of what he would have been capable of had this been in a more secluded area with no witnesses.
“I made the decision to return to duty after three weeks off, despite not being fully over my injuries, just to show that people like him cannot win.
“I am so very grateful to the members of the public who came to my assistance – they have reinforced why I do the job I do. These are the people I am trying to protect.”
Detective Inspector Andy Buckthorpe of GMP’s City of Manchester Division said:
“PC Aitken acted heroically and managed to apprehend a violent offender despite being struck with a bottle and seriously injured.
“While we are immensely proud of PC Aitken and grateful to members of the public who came to her aid – it’s disappointing that I have to stand here to talk about an officer, colleague and friend being assaulted.
“The overwhelming majority of the general public appreciate that the police are here to help and support them.
“Unfortunately, a small minority such as Robertson seem to consider it acceptable to use force against the very people who keep the public safe.
“Officers are people like you and I, who have sworn to protect others. Being assaulted in the line of duty should never be accepted or normalised as simply part of the job.
“Since November, police have new powers under The Assaults on Emergency Workers (Offences) Act to charge people who attack officers.
“These powers allow courts to impose longer sentences for offenders. We won’t hesitate to use these new powers if our officers are attacked.”
In a victim impact statement, the Chief Constable of Greater Manchester Police, Ian Hopkins, said:
“It is never acceptable to assume that assaults upon police officers and staff should be tolerated. They are not simply ‘part of the job’.”
He added: “Most importantly it should be remembered that police officers and staff are people.
“They are fathers, mothers, sons and daughters. When they are attacked they become victims just like any other, but victims who have been attacked while trying to protect others.”
If you have a story, video or one-off blog that you would like to share with us, then you can contact our team of former emergency services & armed forces personnel either through our Facebook page, via Twitter ( @ES_News_ ) or you can contact us via email: firstname.lastname@example.org
If you run or manage a ‘job’ social media account and you would like us to share one of your stories then send us a tweet or a message!
If you would like to write an article that you would like us to share (it can be about anything to do with the emergency services / NHS) whether you serve in the emergency services / NHS or whether you are a member of the public who has had a good experience with the emergency services, then feel free to contact our team; anonymously if you prefer.
We are proud to act as a voice for the emergency services, armed forces & health service, with over 500,000 people visiting our website each month.
Before you go...
We need your help. As former emergency services & armed forces personnel, we pride ourselves on bringing you important, fast-moving and breaking news stories which are free from the negative bias which is often directed at the emergency services by some sections of the mainstream media.
One of the reasons we started 'Emergency Services News' was because we became tired of reading badly informed stories about the emergency services which seemed only ever to highlight negative aspects of the job.
We want to be the unheard voice of the remarkable men and women who serve in the emergency services, NHS and armed forces. And with around 500k page views each month, we are getting there!
As income from ads, the mainstay source of income for most publishers, continues to decline; we need the help of our readers.
And remember, if you have a service, product or job vacancy that you would like to promote to our large readership, then you can buy advertising space in our articles.
You can support emergency services news from as little as £1. It only takes a minute. Every contribution, however big or small, is vital for our future.
Please help us to continue to highlight the life-saving work of the emergency services, NHS and armed forces by becoming a supporter.