Beds, Herts & Bucks

Police dog Finn stabbing: Boy detained

PC Dave Wardell and police dog Finn Image copyright Herts Police
Image caption PC Dave Wardell and Finn had been working together for seven years when a knife attack almost took the dog's life

A teenage boy who stabbed a police dog and wounded his handler has been sentenced to eight months' detention.

PC Dave Wardell and German shepherd Finn were attacked by the boy, who cannot be named because of his age, in Stevenage in October. Finn suffered life-threatening injuries.

The 16-year-old from London was found guilty of causing PC Wardell actual bodily harm and criminal damage in relation to Finn at a trial last month.

He was sentenced at Bromley on Tuesday.

Image copyright Davies Veterinary Specialists
Image caption Vets fought to save the police dog's life

PC Wardell and Finn were attacked in the early hours of 5 October in the Hertfordshire town while responding to a report of a robbery.

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Finn was stabbed with a 30cm (12in) hunting knife in the head and chest and underwent four hours of emergency surgery.

Image copyright Hertfordshire Police
Image caption The seriously injured dog underwent four hours of emergency surgery and handler PC Dave Wardell was treated in hospital

The blade narrowly missed the dog's heart, magistrates at Stevenage Youth Court were told last month.

'I begged the vet to save my boy'

The officer's hand was stabbed, although he was not badly hurt.

The teenager from Lewisham, south-east London, was arrested the following day.

He admitted possessing an imitation firearm and the knife used in the attack on the officer and dog, although he denied attacking them.

Image copyright BCH Police Dogs
Image caption German shepherd Finn was stabbed in the head and chest after pursuing a suspect

He appeared for sentencing at Bromley Magistrates' Court in south London, where he was given an eight-month term for ABH against PC Wardell and eight months for possession of the weapons, to run concurrently.

He will spend half of his sentence in a young offender institution and the other half on supervision or probation, the Crown Prosecution Service said.

Image copyright PA
Image caption PC Wardell and PD Finn returned to duty just before Christmas

Speaking after the conclusion of the case, PC Wardell said: "Without Finn there that night I would not have been going home to my family, of that I have no doubt."

Finn, now aged eight, recovered from injuries and returned to work. He retired from active duty at the end of March.

Image copyright PC Dave Wardell
Image caption Finn returned to duty in December
Image caption The dog retired at the end of March and took his first seaside holiday

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