90 days from today is Fri, 09 October 2020
11 March 2020
When PC Paul Newman was left fighting a suspect in a storm drain, he feared for his life.
As the suspect gouged his eyes and dragged him under water, he had run out of strength to fight – but PC Holly Necchi turned up just in time and the pair managed to detain his attacker.
West Midlands Police Federation has now nominated the two officers for the national Police Bravery Awards, which are held in London and honour some of the finest officers in England and Wales for incredible acts of bravery, while on or off duty.
The incident unfolded on 17 July 2019 at about 11.30am when officers were on an operation on Bescot Retail Park, Walsall. A VW Golf was brought onto the site and PC Necchi spoke to the driver – Calvert Batchelor, who had warning markers for possession of a firearm and intelligence linking him to gangs and drug dealing.
Officers searched the car and, as an officer approached the driver’s door, Batchelor ran away. A loaded handgun was found in the door.
PC Necchi gave chase into a brook but, realising he was surrounded, Batchelor turned and ran into the storm drain which was about 10ft wide and 6ft high.
PC Newman followed him into the tunnel of the drain and it was only when it came to an end after about 25 metres that PC Newman was able to reach Batchelor, but at that point, the drain was shallow and both PC Newman and Batchelor were so confined that they were crawling on their hands and knees.
Batchelor grabbed a branch and attempted to swing but he was unable to do so due to the limited space. They were in relatively deep water, mud, silt, rubbish and debris.
Batchelor launched himself at PC Newman, grabbed him with one arm around the back of his head and with the other gouged at his eyes.
When Batchelor suddenly let go, he grabbed PC Newman by the jaw, reaching under his tongue to use his middle finger to punch a hole through the floor of his mouth, just below his lower front teeth.
PC Newman’s instinctive reaction was to bite his assailant but he then found himself being dragged backwards by the jaw, held under water for about 30 seconds at which point he felt exhausted and feared he was about to die.
Somehow, he got hold of his torch and hit Batchelor causing him to fall back onto the mud and then fell on top of him.
Luckily, but unbeknown to him, he had been followed into the tunnel by PC Necchi who had heard the panicked shouting from her colleague. She helped PC Newman restrain and detain the offender.
PC Newman feels PC Necchi saved his life as he was physically spent and unable to do anything else to subdue Batchelor.
At court, Batchelor admitted possessing an illegal firearm and ammunition, plus wounding, and was jailed for nine years and four months.