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Sunday, 21 December 2014

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Praise for brave Cumbria PC who took on knifeman

A JUDGE has praised a police officer who tackled a drunken man armed with a knife.

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‘CONSIDERABLE COURAGE’ PC Simon Tunstall has been praised by a judge after he tackled a man armed with a knife

A JUDGE has praised a police officer who tackled a drunken man armed with a knife.

The man tried to barricade himself in a bedroom as PC Tunstall attempted to arrest him on suspicion of drink-driving.

Preston Crown Court heard Martin Johnson got into his home, took hold of a Stanley knife-type blade and threatened to harm himself.

The judge described the incident as “appalling” and praised the actions of PC Simon Tunstall who he said should be commended for having shown “considerable courage and bravery”.

Johnson, 31, of Hood Street, Barrow pleaded guilty to assault with intent to resist arrest, careless driving, affray and failing to give a breath sample for analysis.

The offences dated back to September last year. On the night of September 21, following a report of a suspected drink driver, the defendant was followed as he travelled at speed through Barrow.

He went on to stop outside his home at the time.

A police officer tried to arrest him, to get a breath sample for analysis, but a violent struggle followed, with Johnson attempting to headbutt PC Tunstall and kicking at him.

Mr Joe Allman, prosecuting, said the officer had tried to summon assistance. The defendant managed to escape and get in the house.

Johnson armed himself with a Stanley-type knife and tried to barricade himself in his room.

Police had to use a ram as Johnson repeatedly threatened to slit his own throat.

A violent struggle followed and he had to be subdued with a baton and leg restraints.

PC Tunstall’s injuries included a two-inch cut to his right forearm. He was in a lot of pain and treated with morphine in hospital.

He was in extreme pain for four weeks, on sick leave over a month and a family holiday in Turkey was ruined.

Mr Brian Williams, defending, told the court Johnson was throughly ashamed of the way he had behaved.

He said: “This was not rational behaviour by any means. This was a man behaving irrationally, recklessly, through drink.

“A knife was produced as a threat to himself, rather than to harm others.

“He is an intelligent man. To behave like that shows some kind of problem.

“He says he has not taken alcohol since. He knows he has to sort himself out.”

Mr Williams submitted that Johnson could avoid being sent to prison “by the skin of his teeth”.

Jailing Johnson for 15 months the judge, Recorder David Knifton, said: “Without any hesitation I come to the conclusion nothing other than an immediate sentence of imprisonment can be justified”.

Johnson was given a three-year driving ban with an extended retest to follow and must pay PC Tunstall £1,500 compensation.

He will also have to pay a £100 statutory surcharge.

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