30 May 2017
A life sentence has been welcomed by the Police Federation after thug Simon Priest, 41, punched PCs Geoff Hill and Karl Odgers and stamped on their heads after they responded to what they thought was a routine domestic incident.
Both officers from Hampshire Police were knocked unconscious in February this year, with PC Odgers being placed into an induced coma on his arrival at hospital, before further surgery to relieve a bleed on his brain.
But Priest may be out before he is 50 after the judge handed him a minimum tariff of seven and a half years behind bars, after he pleaded guilty to five offences including causing grievous bodily harm (GBH) with intent.
Police Federation Vice-Chair Calum Macleod said: “A custodial sentence is better than none, but although this is a step in the right direction, people may legitimately feel this is not enough, especially if the minimum tariff of seven and a half years is adhered to. Let’s not forget that police officers put their lives on the line every day – and these two officers very nearly lost theirs. Yet their attacker could be out in a few years.
“It is estimated that an officer is assaulted every four minutes in the UK. There is simply no excuse for assaulting a police officer, who already do very a tough and dangerous job, as has been evidenced by recent events. Those who do break the law should receive the maximum sanction to send a message to others thinking of doing the same.”
Under the theme of Protect The Protectors, the Federation is campaigning for tougher sentences for those who assault emergency service workers, as well as a wider roll-out of protective kit such as Taser, spit and bite guards, and body-worn video – which luckily the officers were wearing to help obtain a conviction.
After sentencing on Friday (26 May), John Apter, Chair of Hampshire Police Federation, said: “This was a vicious and sustained attack on two police officers doing their duty on behalf of the public. The level of violence used was sickening and the worst I have seen in my 24 years of policing. It was only due to the swift medical care received that this horrendous attack did not result in the death of either officer.
“This sentence will never be enough for what Simon Priest did to those officers, I hope every day he does spend in prison is a long one.”
Thankfully both officers made a full recovery and are back on duty.
More information on our Protect The Protectors campaign