Lengthy sentence given to armed man who pulled a police officer out of her patrol car

A man has been jailed for 14 years for violently assaulting a Sussex Police officer during an armed robbery. 

Oct 31, 2018
By Neil Root
Owen Smith

Owen Smith, 29, had pleaded guilty at Hove Crown Court on August 30 to charges of assault by beating a police constable, possession of an offensive weapon, robbery and taking a police vehicle without consent. 

He was sentenced at Hove Crown Court on Tuesday (October 30). 

PC Ellie Young and PC Vicky Canales were in their patrol car when they pulled into a Tesco Express petrol station forecourt in Horsham and found a robbery in progress: two men wearing balaclavas were stealing cash, alcohol and cigarettes. It had already been reported but was still being assessed when the officers arrived by chance. 

A Tesco employee had already managed to escape the robbery, and the officers called for back-up while they prevented members of the public from entering the premises.  

Then Smith ran towards the patrol car, threatening the officers with a baseball bat before forcing open the car door and dragging PC Young out.  

Smith then violently assaulted PC Young, and she suffered injuries to her arms, legs, neck and shoulder, but both PC Young and PC Canales continued to struggle with Smith. Both the attack and fightback were captured on CCTV. 

When back-up arrived, Smith was Tasered and arrested while his accomplice fled the scene and is still at large. 

Detective Chief Inspector Justina Beeken of Sussex Police said: “Watching the CCTV of Owen Smith attacking our officers is absolutely harrowing, not least due to the ferocity of the attack, and I commend the officers’ bravery and commitment that evening in arresting him.

“No officer should be attacked while doing their job and I am thankful that no officers were more seriously hurt.

“I also commend those members of the public and officers who ran to their colleagues’ assistance, trying to prevent Smith from getting away from the scene, without a moment’s thought for their own safety.

“Smith’s behaviour has also had an impact on those working in the Tesco Express that evening who were also threatened while going about their job.” 

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