Case study: Gloucestershire - knocked unconscious & left with head wound

Sara Sleeman

Insp Sara Sleeman

Inspector Sara Sleeman was punched by a man holding a phone in his fist with such force that she was knocked unconscious and left with a gaping head wound.

An officer with the Gloucestershire force for 26 years, she was policing the night-time economy in Gloucester with colleagues, when a row broke out between two men and a woman in the street.

Sara was pushed in the chest by the woman. She says: “I walked her away to say ‘it’s time you went home’, and one of the men – who turned out to be her brother – came up behind me and smashed me over the head with a phone.”

As she lay unconscious and bleeding a colleague chased down the attacker. The man was later convicted of ABH and warned by the trial judge to expect prison. But at the sentencing a different judge imposed a 12 month sentence, suspended for 18 months instead.

Sara adds: “I think he was given credit for starting a college course, but if you hurt a police officer that is an attack on society and there should be a consequence. I feel let down by the courts. The defendant showed no remorse.”

Sara missed a month’s duty while she recovered from her injury and dizzy spells. It impacted on family life as she was unable to drive her children or even walk her dog. If faced with a similar situation again she would still intervene but would now feel “more nervous”. She adds: “If more officers had Taser, attackers might think twice.”

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