A man who attacked an officer with a spade during a residential burglary has been sentenced to nine years in prison.

Jay Baptiste, 32 (17.10.88) of Crystal Palace Park Road was sentenced at Croydon Crown Court on Tuesday, 2 March to nine years imprisonment for grievous bodily harm [GBH], three years for the burglary of a residential address and three years for the burglary of a non-residential address. All sentences to run concurrently.

Police were called to Sherwood Road, West Wickham, on Monday, 14 September 2020 by a member of the public who could see men breaking into a house.

Two officers, PC Alex Gray and PC Matt Lockie, accepted the call and arrived on scene around five minutes later.

As the suspects were still inside the address, PC Gray went to the back of the property while PC Lockie remained at the front to contain the address whilst awaiting back up.

At the rear of the property, PC Gray approached a window that had been smashed open and could see Jay Baptiste inside.

PC Gray identified himself as a police officer and drawing his baton told the man to ‘get down’. Baptiste, ignoring the officer’s request, stepped backwards into the room and a second man became visible behind him.

Despite being outnumbered, the officer continued to direct the suspects to stay where they were, at the same time activating a call for assistance via his radio.

The second suspect then picked up a shovel and used it to smash through the bottom of the wooden door that led into the rest of the house. He then dropped the shovel and crawled through the gap making his escape.

PC Gray managed to enter the property through the broken window and approached the remaining suspect, Baptiste.

As PC Gray approached, Baptiste reached behind him and picked up the discarded shovel, before swinging it at officer’s head multiple times causing serious lacerations to the officer’s head and face.

Baptiste then tried to crawl through the gap in the door that his associate had used to make his escape.

Despite his serious head injuries, PC Gray managed to take hold of Baptiste and with the assistance of PC Lockie, pulled him back into the room and detained him in handcuffs.

PC Gray was treated in hospital for head injuries that resulted in permanent scarring.

Baptiste was charged on 15 September 2020 with residential burglary with intent to steal in relation to the break in at the house, non-residential burglary and GBH.

Due to the overwhelming evidence against him, Baptiste pleaded guilty at Croydon Crown Court.

Detective Inspector Mel Lillywhite said: “This sentence represents the serious nature of the assault and the injuries sustained by the officer and will ensure that the public are protected from this violent individual for a considerable time to come.

“Assaults against officers will not be tolerated and we will continue to place those who commit violent acts before the courts.

“I would like to commend the officers involved in this case for continuing to do their duty to protect the public despite the horrific level of violence they were faced with, in particular the officer who sustained such awful injuries.

“Police officers are risking their lives on the frontline every day and deserve recognition for their commitment to keeping Londoners and their property safe.”

+ The second suspect remains outstanding.

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