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Following a three day hearing at Winchester Crown Court, a jury has today (Friday 29 October) found that Thomas Gracey, 45, of Churchill Way, Basingstoke did attack an officer with a knife on April 12, 2020.
This was a trial of issue because Thomas Gracey was deemed unfit to stand trial due to mental ill health, therefore the jury were asked to determine what happened, rather than his guilt.
The court heard how it was it was just another normal duty day for the police constable and his colleague before being subjected to a violent attack.
He had been deployed by the control room to a flat in Churchill Way to assist Mental Health Practitioners execute a warrant under the Mental Health Act.
Mental Health practitioners often ask for police assistance to gain access to an address when they are concerned about a person’s mental health. The officer and his colleague deployed to the flat that day, alongside mental health professionals, went there to help Thomas Gracey.
The officer tried to speak to Gracey through the door by slipping him a note and calling his phone, trying to reassure him he wasn’t in any trouble and to get him to come out on his own accord.
When this didn’t work, the officers asked for assistance over their radio from other colleagues who could come to the area method of entry equipment, to break down the door.
However, before they arrived and after some time, the officer, still trying to get Gracey to speak with him and respond, heard the door open, and it was then when Gracey launched an attack on the officer.
Lots people ran to towards the danger to help the officer, including a neighbour who upon hearing the commotion in the hallway tried to distract Gracey to get him to stop stabbing the officer, and the mental health workers who rushed to help restrain Gracey and give the officer first aid.
Several other officers arrived on scene to help and eventually Gracey was restrained and arrested. Whilst he was in custody, his mental health was assessed and he was detained in a secure facility under the Mental Health Act.
The officer was transported to hospital and treated for a number of stab wounds to this head, face, arms, hands and fingers.
This had not been just another day at work.
The jury found that Thomas Gracey did commit the act of attacking the police officer that day.
Chief Constable Olivia Pinkney said: “Officers risk their lives every day to keep people safe. They come to work and carry out their duty to protect people, sometimes very vulnerable people with complex needs. We dedicate a lot of time to finding, supporting and protecting people who are very unwell.
“Officers do what they can within their power to help them, and help partners to ensure people get the right help.
“My officers are often asked to help mental health professionals with visits and execute warrants because of the very real concern a person might be a danger to themselves or others. They do this in order to protect individuals and communities from harm.
“There is no doubt that this officers physical injuries have healed, but there will be a long lasting trauma that I wish none of my officers had to endure.
“I would like to personally commend the officer for his bravery in recovery and having him back on duty. I would to also extend my thanks and pay tribute to the officers and mental health practitioners than ran towards the danger in what was a terrifying incident.”
Today, the Judge gave Gracey an indefinite hospital order under Section 37 of the Mental Health Act.