Man jailed for attacking police officers Date published: 10th May 2017 3.35pm

A suspect who brutally attacked two Cheshire police officers as they transported him from West Yorkshire has been jailed.

Christopher Hartley, 44, from Fartown in Huddersfield, was arrested by DC Vicki Shelton and DC David MacFarlane from Northwich Local Policing Unit on 7 September 2016 on suspicion of possession of indecent images.

Upon his arrest Hartley had been compliant, but his mood abruptly changed whilst being transported to custody - and he began to attack the two officers as they drove at 70mph in the fast lane on the M62 in West Yorkshire.

Amazingly, despite the vicious assault, DC Shelton managed to control the vehicle and pull over safely on the hard shoulder.

Once stationary the officers managed to control Hartley until colleagues from both Cheshire and West Yorkshire Police arrived at the scene to arrest him.

As a result of the incident both officers sustained serious injuries, for which they still receiving medical treatment; one of the officers has been left with permanent damage.

Hartley was charged with a number of offences including two counts of attempted section 18 assault; a section 18 assault; breach of a Sexual Offences Prevention Order and possession of indecent images.

Hartley pleaded guilty to all of the charges and on Tuesday 9 May he appeared at Leeds Crown Courts where he was sentenced to a total of 14 years in prison. On sentencing Hartley Judge James Spencer QC, said it was “a mercy there was not some catastrophe.”

Following the sentencing Cheshire Police Assistant Chief Constable Nick Bailey said: “Police officers work extremely hard to protect the public on a daily basis and they do not deserve to be assaulted as they carry out their duties.

“The sentence handed to Hartley reflects the severity of this horrific attack. At the time of the incident both officers genuinely feared for their lives, and they are still recovering from what happened that day, both physically and emotionally.

“They have since returned to work and are being supported through this difficult and traumatic time.

“I would like to thank both for the bravery and courage that they have shown. Had it not been for the actions taken by them on that day I have no doubt that the incident could have been far worse.”

Chief Inspector Simon Meegan from Northwich Local Policing Unit said: “This was a horrendous assault that could have resulted in serious injury or worse to both the detectives involved and the travelling public.  

“I would like to pay tribute to the determination and resilience of the officers involved in the days and months following the attack, and Hartley’s sentence rightly reflects the severity of the incident”.

Detective Sergeant Zaheer Abbas, from West Yorkshire Police who led the prosecution, said: "We welcome the sentence handed down to Hartley; his actions on the day he was arrested were despicable and our colleagues from Cheshire police suffered serious injuries as a result. 

"Police officers do a difficult and dangerous job and it is completely unacceptable for any level of violence used against them as they are trying to do their job and keep our communities safe."