Man admits meat cleaver attack on police officers in Wishaw

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PCs Josh McCorry and Glenn ColettaImage source, Spindrift
Image caption,
PCs Josh McCorry and Glenn Coletta feared for their lives during the attack

A 26-year-old man has admitted a violent attack on two police officers using a meat cleaver.

David Dowson attempted to murder one officer and endangered the life of another in the incident in Wishaw, North Lanarkshire, in June last year.

He sliced off the tip of the thumb of one of his victims and both officers suffered severe injuries.

The High Court in Glasgow heard PCs Josh McCorry and Glenn Coletta were "terrified and feared for their lives".

Dowson pleaded guilty to attempting to murder PC McCorry by striking him with the weapon outside his home.

He was originally charged with a double attempted murder but his plea to the lesser charge of assaulting PC Coletta to his severe injury, permanent disfigurement and danger of life was accepted.

Full force

Advocate depute Margaret Barr said Dowson shouted: "Aye, I chopped your cops up with a cleaver," as he was put in a police van following the attack.

She said the two on-duty officers were returning a child to the block of flats where Dowson lived at about 20:10 on 14 June, but this matter was not related to him.

As they struggled to enter the secure close, Dowson approached them and said he would take the child since he knew him, before telling the officers: "I'll put holes in both of you."

He was warned about his behaviour and allowed PC Coletta, aged 24 at the time, access to the close before pulling out the meat cleaver, raising it over his head and swinging at the officer's face.

Image source, Google
Image caption,
The attack happened outside flats in Greenfield Drive, Wishaw

PC Coletta blocked the blow with his hand, and was severely hurt.

Ms Barr said PC McCorry then entered the close and Dowson punched him before bringing the cleaver down full force towards his head, causing him to fall into the wall and then onto the ground.

He kept swinging the weapon at the officer, making contact at least once.

One officer managed to escape through the door while the other jumped out of a window to get away.

Reinforcements arrived and as he was being removed, Dowson shouted to members of the public: "Cops tried to come into my house without a warrant. I went at them with a meat cleaver."

'I thought I was going to die'

Ms Barr said Dowson continued to act aggressively inside the police van, resulting in a head injury which required hospital treatment.

PC McCorry, 23 at the time of the attack, had the tip of his right thumb sliced off and he suffered a 3cm cut to the top of his head. He returned to work after more than two months.

Speaking about the incident, he told the court: "I actually just feel lucky to be alive. I thought I was going to die."

PC Coletta required surgery to a severe injury to his right hand, which has left scarring. He was off work for four-and-a-half months.

The court heard he said: "Thinking back on it is sickening. It actually keeps me awake at night thinking about what happened.

"I'm lucky to be alive."

The court heard Dowson had seven previous convictions, including for assault to severe injury, permanent disfigurement and danger of life.

He will be sentenced on 6 May.

Police Scotland welcomed the conviction.

Ch Supt Alan Waddell, the divisional commander for Lanarkshire, said: "I would like to commend the bravery and professionalism of the officers involved.

"This was a vicious and unprovoked attack. Not only were these two officers doing their job, they were actually helping a 10-year-old boy at the time. Any violence towards our officers is outrageous and disgraceful and will not be tolerated."

He added that assaults on officers and staff were unacceptable but had increased in recent years.

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