London

Officers screamed as neighbours filmed pit bull attack

Scene of the dog attack in Albert Square
Image caption Members of the public stood and filmed the attack on their mobile phones, the court heard

Police officers fled screaming after a pit bull attacked them during a house raid while locals filmed the scene on their mobile phones, a court has heard.

One officer sobbed as he told a jury how the dog, which attacked a colleague, seemed not to notice the two of them hitting it with their batons.

Symieon Robinson-Pierre, 25, of Albert Square, Newham, denies four offences under the Dangerous Dogs Act.

A jury heard Mr Robinson-Pierre made no attempt to call his animal off.

Members of the public who heard the four injured officers' screams came to the scene and stood there filming as they sought refuge on walls and inside a police van, another officer told the Inner London Crown Court jury.

It took five officers to partially subdue the animal but it was shot dead about 20 minutes later by armed police.

The jury heard that Mr Robinson-Pierre told police it was "not the dog's fault, you could have knocked, I'd have let you in," when he was arrested a short time later at his house on 22 March.

'Screaming in pain'

Det Con Tom Boow, who was behind three uniformed Pcs - Mark Merritt, Martin Corderoy and Lee Bush - as they forced their way into the house, told the court that almost as soon as they broke down the door they started coming backward.

He said: "I heard Martin Corderoy scream, it was the sort of scream you make when something bad has happened.

"Then I saw a dog clamped on to his leg. Martin was screaming. Mark Merritt raised his asp (baton) and put it between the dog's jaws to release the bite on Martin's leg.

"I would estimate it took 20-30 seconds to get it off. It then jumped up and bit on to Mark's forearm.

"The dog was literally hanging off his arm and he was trying to swing his arm around in the hope that the dog would get off him."

Det Con Boow said the dog then bit Pc Bush: "By this time, because there was so much noise because we were all shouting, the bit officers were screaming in pain and members of the public were coming out to see what was going on.

"I remember ... people were filming it on their iPhones."

The court heard that other officers arrived at the scene including Pc Duncan West who used a 5ft riot shield to try to restrain the dog with colleague Pc Steve Bones.

Fighting back tears, he said: "Pc Bones, in an act of selfless bravery, grabbed the dog by the back of the neck. It then bit him on the left hand. Initially I thought he had lost one of his fingers."

The two officers managed to get a dog pole with a noose on to it but were still struggling to control it when an armed response unit arrived and shot it, he said.

'Very distressing'

The jury was shown a video of the scene taken by police, showing bloodstains on the pavement and on a car where one officer sought refuge on the roof.

Craig Harris, defending Mr Robinson-Pierre, accused Dc Boow of giving the wrong evidence about where the dog attack on Pc Bush took place, to move it from inside the front garden of the house to the street to make it seem worse than it was.

"You are exacerbating the case against the defendant if not lying," he said. The detective denied this.

In total, five officers were injured by the dog, with Pc Paul Garrard suffering wounds to his leg.

One man who gave evidence from behind a screen, started filming the attacks after hearing screams and going outside.

He said he saw the dog attack several police officers: "It was one of the most horrific things I have heard in my life.

"To hear people screaming like that was very distressing," he said.

The trial continues.

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