Case study: Thames Valley - horrific woodland attack
PC Lucie Chhetri pictured after the assault
PCs Lucie Chhetri and John Donovan were subjected to a horrifc attack in a remote rural spot in West Berkshire.
Their attacker - an intoxicated man accompanied by a young child - had driven into a ditch. The offcers tried to help, but in a split second he turned into a “complete maniac”. PC Chhetri had her head smashed against a police car and her colleague was also punched repeatedly.
She said: “There were no signs, no body language clues – he went from zero to 100 in the blink of an eye. We sprayed him with Captor but it had no effect, he was like a raging bull.”
Back-up was 20 minutes away and the radio controller had poor local knowledge. Both officers feared for their lives. Later an ambulance took 40 minutes to arrive as it was diverted to another job. The suspect left with the injured offcers following a safe distance behind.
He was eventually arrested by offcers from neighbouring Hampshire and appeared in court a year later. He
denied the assaults but body worn video footage revealed the truth and he was jailed for two years.
PC Chhetri believes they got a good result in court but feels that if either offcer had been carrying a Taser, they may have been able to subdue the offender without being assaulted.
PC O’Donovan, who has since been promoted to sergeant, described the incident as like “something out
of a horror movie”. He had to walk into hospital in front of members of the public in a muddied police uniform with injuries on display. The encounter has left him with recurring nightmares which he will be dealing with for some time.
He recalls: “The man was on the rampage – intent on causing serious harm. He was a lot stronger than me. He literally held me down and rained blows of immense force towards my head. He seemed to take great pleasure in inﬂicting this pain and I really didn’t think he was going to stop."
PC O'Donovan said his wife was devastated: “She talked about what would have happened if things had been worse and I had not come home to her and our baby. She wants me to leave policing as she feels that it is not safe.”
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