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Devon & Cornwall Police Federation

Man Who Stabbed Officers Is Jailed

21 October 2022

A Princetown man has been jailed for 20 years for brutally stabbing and seriously injuring two police officers and for historic sexual offences against a child.

Jon Ross was sentenced to 12 years for his assault on two officers, and eight years for historic sexual offences against a child, which are to be served consecutively.

Jon Ross subjected PCs Darren Brimacombe and Timothy Willett to a ‘savage’ attack after they had responded to a disturbance at an address in the Devon village.

Andy Berry, Chair of Devon and Cornwall Police Federation, paid tribute to the bravery of his two colleagues and said the incident could have been much worse if they were not double crewed.

Andy said: “Firstly I want to pay tribute to the professionalism and bravery of PC Brimacombe and PC Willett who put themselves in harm’s way to bring a dangerous offender to justice.

“This case brings into sharp relief the very real danger that police officers face every day even in an area as safe as Devon and demonstrates the importance of ensuring that police officers are deployed ‘double-crewed’ for their own safety and the safety of the public.

“Both officers suffered significant injuries as a result of the frenzied attack by Ross and I dare not imagine what may have happened if a lone officer had tried to tackle him.

“We wish them both well.”

Ross burst from his parked car and stabbed and slashed at both officers with a knife after they located him in the early hours of 9 July 2021.

PC Brimacombe suffered a serious arm injury and cuts to his head and face. PC Willett sustained serious injuries to his arm and fingers.

Both officers needed hospital treatment and have undergone surgery as part of their recoveries. Neither officer has come back to frontline duties as a result of the incident, and both are looking for other roles within the force.

Ross, 62, of Burrator Avenue, admitted to two counts of assault occasioning grievous bodily harm, with intent. He had also pleaded guilty to charges of affray and assault on a previous occasion.

He was sentenced to 12 years for these offences.

He had previously been found guilty of four sexual offences against a child, in a trial that concluded in April, for which he was sentenced to eight years in prison.

He was sentenced to a total of 20 years in prison by Judge Simon Carr at Truro Crown Court on Thursday 20 October.

He was told he would have to serve two-thirds of that before he will become eligible to be released on licence.

He will have to sign the Sex Offender’s Register for the rest of his life.

Judge Carr praised the victim of the sexual offences and said: “Your victim gathered the courage to approach the police to report what had happened to her.”

And in referring to the serious assault on the officers, he said: “Frenzied is a term overused by the court but not in this case.

“Armed with a knife, you stabbed out repeatedly causing permanent injury to both. The psychological damage has been immense. You went on to attack two other officers.”

The court heard how police were called to reports of a disturbance at a property late on 8 July 2021.

Officers were told Ross had been drinking alcohol, had taken his car keys and left the address and that the caller was unsure of his state of mind.

PCs Brimacombe and Willett, who knew Ross from previous community work, searched the area and located his vehicle.

They found him in the driver’s seat and drinking from a bottle.

Both officers calmly spoke to Ross despite him being verbally abusive and aggressive towards them.

Without warning, Ross swung at and narrowly missed PC Willett with a knife.

He then exploded out of the open car door and attacked PC Brimacombe who was repeatedly stabbed as they grappled on the ground.

The officer suffered lacerations to his scalp and face – nearly having the end of his nose cut off.

Ross stabbed PC Brimacombe in the arm, causing a significant arterial bleed.

PC Willett then struggled with Ross and pulled him off his injured colleague.

He was stabbed in his forearm and sustained finger injuries as he wrestled the blade from Ross’s grasp.

PC Willett deployed his Taser to subdue Ross, allowing PC Brimacombe to apply handcuffs and detain him.

Both officers then activated emergency buttons on their radios to request immediate help.

PC Brimacombe’s arm was bleeding so heavily, a police-issue tourniquet had to be applied to the wound.

Ross was later found to be twice over the legal limit of alcohol to drive a vehicle.

Devon & Cornwall Police has released shocking images of the scene, with the blessing of PCs Brimacombe and Willett, to highlight the dangers faced by officers.

Detective Constable Craig Ferguson said after the sentencing hearing: “We are pleased with the outcome in what has been a lengthy and detailed police investigation.

“Jon Ross employed an extreme and savage level of violence, with a bladed weapon, to severely injure the two police officers.

“The officers were on duty and in uniform when they attended to try and help him. They knew him personally from previous dealings where they had successfully helped him.

“The officers sought to speak with him and tried to help, but he responded by repeatedly stabbing them in a sustained attack.

“As a result, Jon Ross has been imprisoned for a lengthy period of time, meaning that a significant risk has now been removed from our local community.

“I have worked as a police officer for the past 18 years and can say that this assault is without doubt the worst incident of its kind that I have dealt with.

“The officers conducted themselves with the utmost professionalism, both before and after this terrible ordeal, and we have concluded that their approach and conduct throughout was of a very high standard.

“There was nothing that they could do to plan for or avoid the extreme level of violence that Jon Ross had in mind.

“This incident highlights the level of risk that our police officers can face when attending incidents.

“I would like to take the opportunity to commend my colleagues and those who attended and gave them immediate first aid at the scene.

“All of the officers concerned are a true credit to Devon & Cornwall Police and they should be proud of their professionalism, both at the time and throughout the duration of this investigation.

“I would like to take this opportunity to underline that West Devon remains a safe and pleasant place to live.

“Our communities are very supportive and work well with our local policing teams and as such an incident like this remains an incredibly rare event in Devon and Cornwall.”