Life sentence for police attacker

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.

Priest pleaded guilty to five offences including causing grievous bodily harm (GBH) with intent.  The judge imposed a life tariff with a recommendation he serve a minimum of 15 years - under the guidelines Priest is eligible to apply for parole in seven and a half years, but the judge was extremely clear that the courts should do all they can to protect police officers.

Police Federation Vice-Chair Calum Macleod said: “All too often those who assault police officers are let off with a slapped wrist, but we welcome this sentence and the judge's support to condemn assaults on officers, with this being a particularly monstrous attack.  We need to ensure cases such as these carry a strong deterrent and message that assaulting a police officer is not acceptable and not part of the job.

"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."

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 Taserspit 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