When police officers put on their uniforms, they don’t expect to end their shift lying in a hospital bed.
This was the harsh reality for response officers Geoff Hill and Karl Odgers, after they were attacked while attending a domestic incident in Aldershot on the evening of Tuesday 7 February.
The man responsible, Simon Priest, viciously attacked both officers, punching them and repeatedly stamping on their heads.
He then fled the scene, having stolen a Taser and set of handcuffs. He was later arrested by officers close to the scene.
PC Odgers was the most seriously injured and had to undergo emergency surgery at a specialist hospital in London.
He had sustained a fracture to his skull and a bleed on the brain, for which he spent two weeks receiving treatment at St George’s Hospital. He was only able to return to full duties at work some two months after the assault.
PC Hill was assaulted with such force that footwear marks were clearly visible on his head after the attack. He has also now returned to full duties at work.
Today (Friday 26 May) Priest, of Pegasus Avenue, Aldershot, was given a life sentence after admitting attacking the two officers.
The 41-year-old pleaded guilty to five offences including causing grievous bodily harm with intent.
Speaking after the hearing, Olivia Pinkney, Chief Constable of Hampshire Constabulary, said: “Each and every assault on an officer is unacceptable.
“Karl and Geoff were responding to a cry for help by a woman and her child, when they were attacked in the most appalling manner.
“Our job does come with an element of risk, but what happened that night was truly exceptional.
“We will continue to work hard to ensure that we provide the best welfare and support to our highly-trained officers and staff, who often find themselves moving towards danger, not from it.”
John Apter, chairman of the 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.
“Since the attack the support for the officers from the police family and the wider public has been overwhelming, this is something Karl, Geoff and their families deeply appreciate. Today’s 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.”