Man sent to secure unit after PC knife attack in Cleveleys

Helicopter and ambulance Image copyright Melissa Cavanagh
Image caption PC Pete Lucas was slashed with a knife in Westmorland Avenue, Cleveleys

A man has been sent to a secure mental health unit after attacking a police officer with a knife.

William Ashton, 39, formerly of Briarwood Drive, Blackpool, admitted assaulting PC Pete Lucas in Westmorland Avenue, Cleveleys in November last year.

He pleaded guilty to wounding with intent to do grievous bodily harm (GBH) at Preston Crown Court on Monday.

PC Lucas made a full recovery and returned to work in January.

Psychiatrists agreed Mr Ashton was not insane but had suffered from paranoid schizophrenia for several years, police said.

He was ordered to remain in hospital for an unspecified amount of time.

Missing person

PC Lucas had stopped a Peugeot van on 2 November believing missing person Mr Ashton was the driver.

Mr Ashton got out and punched him before stabbing him, with one of the wounds inflicted below PC Lucas' stab vest, Lancashire Police said.

He then kicked the 47-year-old to the head and body before members of the public intervened and then drove off in his van.

Police later stopped him near Poulton-le-Fylde and Mr Ashton attacked their car with a pickaxe.

A Taser was deployed and he was arrested and taken to a secure mental health facility.

A trial was due to start on Monday but Mr Ashton admitted the section 18 charge of wounding with intent to do grievous bodily harm (GBH).

He had earlier pleaded guilty to affray and possession of a knife.

Det Ch Insp Becky Smith said it was "true credit" to PC Lucas that he had returned to work showing his "resilience and commitment to the job".

"I must commend his courage and professionalism throughout. This incident shows the risks that officers face on a daily basis."

She paid tribute to the members of public who came to PC Lucas' aid, showing "tremendous bravery in the face of danger."

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