Sussex - detained armed man

Sussex Bravery nominees Insp Sandford, PC Chick and PC Young

Insp Andy Sanford, PC Jess Chick and PC Stuart Young

Sussex officers who feared for their lives as they detained a hammer-wielding man nominated for a national Police Bravery Award.

While on duty on 7 January 2016, PC Jess Chick and her partner responded to reports of a burglary and of a man with a hammer trying to break in to a second home. The officers began a search for the man. PC Chick, a probationer at the time, found the man hiding in an outhouse in a communal area of a black of flats.

On being found, the man became immediately aggressive, and confronted the officer with the hammer, shouting. He appeared to be in a deranged state, and refused to comply.  At this stage, back-up, in the form of two Armed Response Vehicles, had arrived.  PC Stuart Young and a colleague deployed their Tasers, but because of the man’s thick clothing, they failed to have an effect.

Officers withdrew from the communal space, to put distance between them and the offender, but PC Chick was caught in the courtyard. The man then began attacking her, trying to hit her with the hammer, and she had to use her baton to defend herself.

Following an urgent assistance call, Inspector Andy Sanford arrived on scene, and led the charge back into the courtyard to detain the man, and save PC Chick. He used CS spray, but it too failed to subdue the man, who had to be wrestled to the ground. During the struggle, PC Young received a blow to the head, as the suspect continued to fight, until finally police managed to restrain him.

It became known later that the man was a European national, recently released from prison for murdering a female. His home country authorities, and family, all had concerns for his mental health. He was found guilty of two counts of GBH with intent, and other offences, and given concurrent discretionary life sentences with a minimum of five years.

Both PCs Young and Chick said, during their court testimonies, that they truly feared for their lives that day, and believed they would not be going home to their families.

Matt Webb, Chair of Sussex Police Federation said: “The level of violence and resistance towards these officers was extreme, and one can only imagine the intense fear that they faced. It is a true testament to the service that these brave men and women would put themselves in such danger, all to ensure the safety of the public.”

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