A man who threatened his ex-partner’s family and horse, as well as driving at a police officer, has been jailed for two years.
On Tuesday, 6 March, police received a phone call from a woman in St Ives saying she had broken up with her partner, 34-year-old Michael Elmstrom, four days ago and he had since been sending her threatening text messages.
Elmstrom, of Dunnock Way in St Ives, had threatened to shoot her horse, ruin the lives of people close to her and smash up her windows and car.
He also sent her a message saying if police get involved there would be a “blood bath”.
PC Sam Thompson from the Rural Crime Action Team (RCAT) was out on patrol in an unmarked vehicle in the St Ives area when the call came in to find and arrest Elmstrom.
PC Thompson located who he believed to be Elmstrom driving a blue Volkswagen Transporter van, near to Hemmingford Grey, so he followed him. On confirmation from the force control room that this was the suspect’s vehicle, an armed response unit was deployed.
With PC Thompson’s directions, the unit caught up with them and signalled for Elmstrom to pull over. He failed to do so and a pursuit took place lasting about 30 minutes around the St Ives area. He reached speeds of about 50mph in a 30mph zone outside a school at home time and 100mph on the A14.
The unmarked vehicle PC Thompson was in was waiting in Elmstrom’s path on the A1198, ready to ‘sting’ him.
PC Thompson said: “I pulled over and got out of my vehicle, collecting a stinger device from the back seat. There was no hard cover such as a wall or a tree to hide behind as it is a wide open bypass and I could see the subject vehicle coming up the hill towards me at approximately 80 to 90mph.
“I was horrified at this point as the van left its side of the road and swerved towards the front of my vehicle, it didn’t slow down or change direction, it just continued to drive straight at me. I was fearful he was going to ram my car head on, killing me as I was stood behind it. I couldn't run away as I thought he was trying to hit me and I had nowhere to hide. I stood still behind my car waiting to see what was going to happen and ready to dive clear if he did hit my car.
“I have never been so scared in my entire life, everything was like it was in slow motion and I remember thinking “this is it, I'm dead”. At the last minute he swerved away back onto his side of the road and I jumped forwards throwing the stinger, puncturing one of the rear tyres.”
This still didn’t bring Elmstrom to a stop and it took another police sting before he eventually had to give in at the Papworth Bypass on the A1198 where he was arrested.
He pleaded guilty to two charges of criminal damage, dangerous driving and sending malicious communications at a hearing last month (April).
Today (Monday, 14 May), he appeared at Cambridge Crown Court and was sentenced to a total of 24 months in prison. He received one month for each of the criminal damage charges, four months for sending malicious communications, four months for breaching a previous suspended sentence and 14 months for dangerous driving, all to run consecutively.
He has also been disqualified from driving for two years and ten months and ordered to take an extended re-test.
PC Emma Holmes, who investigated the case, said: “Elmstrom is an extremely dangerous individual who put many lives in danger on that day. He had no regard for anyone’s safety, exceeding speed limits and also mounting a kerb outside a school when the children were due to be coming out.
“I would like to thank all those who provided witness accounts and the different teams of officers who have all helped bring a dangerous man to justice in what was a complex investigation.”
Domestic abuse can take many forms and is not just between those in a current relationship. As the victim in this case did, it is important to speak up and contact police if you feel threatened by someone’s behaviour.
Support and advice can be found on the force website at www.cambs.police.uk/domesticabuse. To report information or concerns, visit www.cambs.police.uk/report or call 101 to speak with someone, always dial 999 if you feel you are in immediate danger.