90 days from today is Fri, 29 December 2023
18 February 2019
A Greater Manchester Police officer has been praised for her bravery and heroism after a dangerous man who maliciously attacked her was sentenced to 12 and a half years in prison.
PC Joanne Aitken was struck over the head three times with a wine bottle when she attempted to apprehend Anthony Woodhead Robertson, who was attempting to grab female members of the public as they walked past him.
Joanne asked Mr Robertson to lower the bottle as she approached him, but he responded by striking her over the head with the bottle causing a deep wound to the back of her head.
Despite being struck twice more, Joanne managed to subdue the offender, striking his legs with her baton before tackling him to the ground as he attempted to flee the scene.
In a victim statement, Joanne, said: “I have always taken pride in the fact that prior to this incident I have never had to use my baton.
“I have dealt with countless volatile situations, but have always managed them without resorting to such means.
“The simple fact is that this was a vicious unprovoked attack with no warning given.
“I made the decision to return to duty after three weeks off, despite not being fully over my injuries, just to show that people like him cannot win.
“I am so very grateful to the members of the public who came to my assistance – they have reinforced why I do the job I do. These are the people I am trying to protect”, she added.
Outside Manchester Crown Court, DI Andy Buckthorpe said: “PC Aitken acted heroically and managed to apprehend a violent offender despite being struck with a bottle and seriously injured.
“While we are immensely proud of PC Aitken and grateful to members of the public who came to her aid – it’s disappointing that I have to stand here to talk about an officer, colleague and friend being assaulted.”
Greater Manchester Police Chief Constable, Ian Hopkins, also spoke about the assault on his colleague, and said in a victim impact statement: “It is never acceptable to assume that assaults upon police officers and staff should be tolerated. They are not simply ‘part of the job’.
“Most importantly it should be remembered that police officers and staff are people. They are fathers, mothers, sons and daughters.
When they are attacked they become victims just like any other, but victims who have been attacked while trying to protect others”, he added.