Policeman ‘thought he may die’ after attack by screwdriver-wielding beggar

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A POLICEMAN thought he was about to die after being attacked by a beggar with a screwdriver who was attempting to burgle a church.

Paul Davis, 40, was jailed for four years at Portsmouth Crown Court after he was involved in a violent struggle with officers when caught red- handed trying to break into a till stolen from Fareham Community Church.

But with homeless Davis cornered by officers, he tried to fight his way out past PC Gary Jones, repeatedly threatening him.

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An attempt by the policeman to detain the assailant with a taser was unsuccessful, though, prosecutor Paul Fairley said of the harrowing episode that took place in May this year.

Long term drug addict Davis, who used to be a plumber before turning to heroin, was then seen sprinting across the street towards SC Lucas Strickland while brandishing the weapon. ‘He has a screwdriver, across Russell Place,’ PC Jones said on the radio to warn his colleague.

The defendant then lashed out at SC Strickland prompting a scuffle where the officer was able to land a glancing punch before he saw a metal object being pulled out and thrusted in his direction – making contact with the officer.

The drama was finally ended when PC Jones raced over to help his embattled colleague before successfully tasering Davis, who fell to the floor still clutching the screwdriver. A knife was found on the defendant when he was arrested.

After the incident, PC Jones said in a statement: ‘I felt my life was genuinely threatened and that he could kill me.

‘I felt helpless as he attacked my colleague with a screwdriver and thought he had suffered life changing injuries. I was so relieved when I found out he had only sustained bruising to his arm.’

The court heard Davis had 18 convictions for possessing bladed articles and was sentenced to 14 months’ prison in February last year for a brutal attack on his partner, who admitted she thought she would ‘end up being killed’ if she stayed with him.

The father of three, who also admitted theft of a pedal cycle earlier in May, pleaded guilty to burglary, going equipped with a bladed article, possession of a blade and assault. He was found guilty of making threats to kill after a trial.

In sending Davis down for four years, judge William Ashworth said: ‘With your attitude and history (with bladed articles) it could very well have been used on this occasion. You are a high risk of serious harm to the public and members of authority.’