A motorist high on drink and drugs when he drove a van deliberately at a policeman has been jailed for less than three years – a sentence condemned as ‘very lenient’ by the officer’s union.
Nicholas Murray, 23, of Beckett Avenue, Carlton-in-Lindrick, had spent the day downing alcohol and Mcat, drove intentionally at PC David Troman, dragging him down the side of his van. After knocking the police officer to the ground, Murray sped off – and crashed into a wall.
The plasterer is today beginning a jail term of two years and eight months – not long enough, the Police Federation said.
“PC Troman was carrying out a routine procedure and the next instant he thought he was about to be killed,” said Neil Bowles, secretary of the South Yorkshire branch.
“This is what every officer faces as they leave home and family to go to work – will they return at the end of the shift in one piece, if at all?”
Mr Bowles said it was one of the worst police attacks he had heard of within South Yorkshire.
“Three years seems very lenient to me,” he said.
“PC Troman was keeping the county’s roads safe by stopping and arresting a suspected drink driver. In the next moment Murray jumped into the driver’s seat, started the engine, and mowed him down. The judiciary have to set an example to deter wanton acts of violence against our police officers.”
Sheffield Crown Court heard Murray had already triggered a police chase in Todwick, Rotherham, after his friend was stopped and arrested on suspicion of drink driving.
While police were speaking to his friend Murray, a passenger in the Ford Transit van, leapt into the driver’s seat and drove off.
David Wain, prosecuting, said that Murray drove at 60mph in a 30mph zone, ploughed through red lights, and forced other drivers to take evasive action.
He twice stopped and reversed, knocking a police van out of the way, and accelerated and hit another vehicle driven by PC Mark Adams.
Murray then tried to squeeze the van through a gap between the two police vans, trapping PC Troman.
Mr Wain said: “There was no room to get through yet he accelerated towards this gap.”
“There was no way for the officer to get out of the way, and he closed his eyes. He felt the car hit him, causing immediate pain. He was left lying on the ground unable to move his feet.”
“Murray was using this vehicle as a weapon. There was a serious risk to life.”
The collision caused £1,370 of damage to one police vehicle, which cost £1,795 to repair. The other had to be written off.
PC Troman suffered severe pain and whiplash, and needed time off work.
Murray admitted dangerous driving at 11.30pm on New Year’s Eve, driving while unfit through drugs, assault causing actual bodily harm, possessing MCat, and having no insurance.
Jailing him for two years and eight months, and banning him from driving for three years, Recorder Simon Batiste said: “This was a most dangerous piece of driving.”
Investigating officer PC Sarah Ashton said: “Thankfully the officer was not seriously injured. The consequences could have been a lot worse.”