Jail for man who left Peterborough police officer with serious brain injury

A man who left a Peterborough police officer with a serious brain injury has been jailed.

Wednesday, 28th April 2021, 5:53 pm

PC Leo Clarke (24) suffered a bleed on the brain after being assaulted by Joshua Gull in Peterborough earlier this year.

Gull appeared at Peterborough Crown Court today, where he was jailed for one year and eight months.

In a statement read out at court, PC Clarke said he felt like ‘a prisoner in his own home’ as he continues on the road to recovery.

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Joshua Gull
Joshua Gull

The court heard Gull, 27, was reported to police at about 4.45pm on 8 February after he became violent towards members of his family at a property in Ledbury Road, Peterborough.

Gull had missed a psychiatric appointment at Peterborough City Hospital that morning and walked to the address prior to speaking with a doctor.

PC Clarke, 24, was deployed and found Gull and his father standing in the street.

Gull became agitated and reacted angrily when the officer activated his body worn video camera.

Gull grabbed PC Clarke, who used PAVA spray but to no avail as Gull adopted a fighting stance punch the officer to the head. PC Clarke used his baton to stop Gull, who was arrested soon afterwards as he retreated inside the property.

When PC Clarke returned to Thorpe Wood Police Station, a welfare check by a supervisor discovered he was squinting and had started to slur his words. He was taken to Peterborough City Hospital where it was found he had a bleed on the brain.

PC Clarke underwent surgery and remained in hospital for five days before returning home where he continues to recover.

While in custody, Gull told officers he regretted what he had done and had been suffering with his mental health.

Gull, of Herne Road, Oundle, admitted causing grievous bodily harm without intent and was sentenced to one year and eight months at Peterborough Crown Court today (28 April).

DC Mat Belfitt, who investigated, said: “This was a violent attack against a new-in-service police officer who was simply doing his job in responding to reports of concern for this man.

“On average, there are 42 assaults on officers in Cambridgeshire every month and this incident sadly highlights the dangers officers face on a daily basis.

“Being subjected to such abuse will not be tolerated and we will continue to take strong action.”

In a victim impact statement to the court, PC Clarke said: “This incident has left me feeling like a burden on everyone. I used to love driving but it’s hard now as I have to be driven everywhere in relation to things such as appointments or even to go to the shop. I feel like a prisoner as such in my own house because the recovery is so slow and I would really like to go out with my family but I can’t due to the injury.

“I used to love going out with friends, drinking, going to work and socialising but I can’t do any of that now and that is really hard for me, just sitting at home and doing nothing. I was a really active person and for that now to be taken away, with the possibility that some of these injuries might never go away, makes me feel quite upset.”

In a further victim impact statement to the court, Chief Constable Nick Dean added: “Police officers and staff are regularly subjected to violence and threats which too often result in injury. It is never acceptable to assume that assaults upon police officers and staff should be tolerated, it is not simply ‘part of the job’. While it is clear that the nature of policing requires members of the organisation to handle difficult and hostile situations, assaults upon them are serious and unacceptable.

“The public call upon the police to help them when they are most in need. We have a duty to protect the public, but we are all too often prevented from doing so due to violent individuals who choose to attack those who are there to help them.

“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.”