Man sentenced for grievous bodily harm with intent after stabbing a police officer in Southampton
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A man who stabbed a police officer in Southampton has been given an indefinite hospital order under Section 37 of the Mental Health Act.
Timothy Walsh, aged 51, of Portswood Road, Southampton, has today (Monday, 12 July) been given an indefinite hospital order for causing grievous bodily harm with intent following a five day trial of issue at Winchester Crown Court in April, where the jury determined Walsh did the act of stabbing a police officer.
It was a trial of issue because Timothy Walsh was deemed unfit to stand trial due to his mental ill-health, therefore the jury were asked to determine whether he did the act, rather than his guilt.
The court heard that officers were deployed to check on the welfare of Timothy Walsh living at an address on Portswood Road, Southampton just after midday on Thursday 15 October, 2020.
After 40 minutes of knocking the door and trying to contact Walsh on his phone, officers decided to force entry into the address to make sure he was ok.
Once entry had been gained, Walsh appeared without warning, and holding a knife, ran towards the officers who were at the threshold of the doorway.
Walsh then proceeded to stab one of the officers several times. Another officer narrowly avoided injury.
The injured officer sustained serious stab wounds to his neck, chin and a deep wound to his arm that required stitches. He was taken to hospital for treatment.
Walsh was also tried on four other offences of assault relating to separate incidents:
Common assault on an emergency worker, namely a police officer, on 12 November 2019
Two offences of assault by beating of an emergency worker, in respect of a police officer and a mental health professional, on 12 November 2019
Assault occasioning actual bodily harm of an emergency worker in respect of a mental health worker at Antelope House on 8 March 2020.
Walsh, who was unfit to stand trial due to mental health issues, was found to have committed of all five acts.
Today (Monday, 12 July) he was given an indefinite hospital order for causing grievous bodily harm with intent, common assault on an emergency worker, two offences of assault by beating of an emergency worker and assault occasioning actual bodily harm of an emergency worker.
Chief Constable Olivia Pinkney said “This was a case where experienced officers attended an address to check on the welfare of Walsh. They did not, and nor should they have expected to have come to harm, but regrettably one of them did and the other narrowly escaped injury.
“It goes without saying that this was a terrifying incident for all the officers who were present that day and we do not underestimate the effect this has had on each of them.
“Fortunately, the officer who was seriously injured after being stabbed in the neck has made a good recovery, however we know this has had a considerable impact on him, his family and his colleagues. We are extremely thankful he has since been able to come back on duty.
“We know that our job comes with an element of risk, but no emergency worker should turn up to work and expect to come to harm, but they do, in circumstances where they are trying to keep others safe.
“We 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.”
Hampshire Police Federation Chair, Police Sergeant Zoe Wakefield said: “Officers go to work every day not knowing what they are going to be faced with. Sometimes, they are subjected to high levels of harm and violence and we absolutely cannot underestimate the impact this has on them, and their colleagues.
“Although the physical injuries heal, the psychological trauma suffered lasts a lot longer.
“I am pleased this officer and his colleagues have managed to return to work. We will continue to provide him, and his colleagues, with the support they need.
“I hope thorough risk assessments along with a detailed assessment of the risk Walsh poses to both the community and police officers will be completed before there is any question of his release from hospital.”