Attacked PC nominated for bravery award

PC Leo Clarke at the Police Federation Bravery Awards Ceremony in London

PC Leo Clarke at the Police Federation Bravery Awards Ceremony in London - Credit: CAMBS POLICE

A Cambridgeshire police officer who underwent surgery for a bleed on the brain after he was violently assaulted was nominated for a bravery award.  

PC Leo Clarke, 24, joined a list of heroic officers from across the country who attended the 2021 Police Bravery Awards in London on December 9. 

Leo was nominated by Cambridgeshire Police Federation and its chair Liz Groom described him as having shown “incredible courage”. 

PC Leo Clarke, Cambridgeshire Police & Crime Commissioner Darryl Preston and Assistant Chief Constable Vicki Evans.

PC Leo Clarke was joined at the Police Federation Bravery Awards Ceremony by Cambridgeshire Police & Crime Commissioner Darryl Preston and Assistant Chief Constable Vicki Evans. - Credit: CAMBS POLICE

She said the assault on Leo “highlights how our members put themselves at risk of harm every time they report for duty”. 

She added that, although Leo did not win, being nominated for an award for his bravery and strength was "a huge achievement and we’re very proud of him".

PC Clarke was on his way to an emergency call in Peterborough when he responded to reports from a man saying he was unable to control his adult son who had mental health issues. 

He arrived at the incident as the lone officer and found the man and his son outside the house. 

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The 27-year-old man was in an agitated state and started shouting at the officer before attacking him. 

A witness described how PC Clarke suffered several blows to the head before his attacker went back inside. 

The assailant was arrested at the scene when other officers arrived and warned him, they would use a Taser unless he surrendered. 

PC Clarke, who had been a police officer for just 18 months at the time of the attack, returned to Thorpe Wood Police Station but started to feel unwell. 

A welfare check by a supervisor revealed he was squinting and had started to slur his words.  

He was taken to Peterborough City Hospital where his condition continued to deteriorate and doctors discovered he had a bleed on the brain. 

Emergency surgery was performed to stop the bleed and PC Clarke remained in hospital for five days. 

The surgery has left him with scarring across his head and his eyesight has been affected. 

His attacker, Joshua Gull, of Herne Road, Oundle, admitted causing grievous bodily harm without intent and was sentenced to one-year and eight months when he appeared at Peterborough Crown Court. 

A court was told that Gull had missed a psychiatric appointment at Peterborough City Hospital that morning and walked to the address prior to speaking with a doctor. 

While in custody, Gull told officers he regretted what he had done and had been suffering with his mental health. 

DC Mat Belfitt, who investigated, said: "On average, there are 42 assaults on officers in Cambridgeshire every month and this incident sadly highlights the dangers officers face on a daily basis.” 

Chief Constable Nick Dean said: “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.”