More than 100 people have lost their lives through suicide in prisons in England and Wales so far this year, an all-time record.
Ipswich: 5 Years for Police Dog Attacker
A 21-year-old unemployed man from Ipswich has been sentenced to five years imprisonment after he stabbed his father, a police dog handler and his dog whilst on duty.
Asher Picort from Oulton Road, Ipswich pleaded guilty to unlawfully wounding his father at his home address on the evening of Tuesday 25 October, guilty to grievous bodily harm with intent on PC Steve Jay and criminal damage against his dog, Aman on the same evening.
Police were alerted by the ambulance service around 8.05pm on the evening of Tuesday 25 October to reports that a man had been stabbed in the stomach at an address in Oulton Road in Ipswich.
Officers attended the address with ambulance personnel and found a 47-year-old man with a wound to his stomach. He was conscious and taken to Ipswich Hospital where several stab wounds were found and he was treated for his injuries.
Police tracked a man they believed to be the offender and stopped him in Nacton Road.
He was agitated, in possession of a knife and officers attempted to detain him by using pava spray and taser.
A police dog called Aman, and handler PC Steve Jay were at the scene and in the attempts to arrest the man both the animal and the police officer were stabbed.
Asher Picort was arrested and charged with two counts of grievous bodily harm and criminal damage.
52-year-old police officer Steve Jay was treated in hospital for bite wounds and several knife wounds to his arm and back.
The police dog, Aman had emergency surgery at a veterinary clinic for a number of stab wounds.
Both PC Steve Jay and Aman have recovered and resumed full operational duty.
Assistant Chief Constable Paul Marshall commented after the sentencing, he said: "The sentencing at Ipswich Crown Court today shows the seriousness of this offence. On the evening in question, when Asher Picort was located he was armed with a large knife, in a highly agitated state and there were significant concerns for the wider community. The pava spray and taser didn't have an affect on him and police dog Aman was deployed in an attempt to control and disarm him. Asher Picort began to repeatedly stab Aman at which point PC Steve Jay stepped in to try to defend his dog and disarm Picort. PC Jay was also stabbed several times and I am sure that the officer's protective clothing prevented him from more serious injury.
"Officers regularly face danger and take risks to ensure the public are kept safe from harm and the use of police dogs is considered one of the greatest deterrents to criminals. The actions of PC Steve Jay on the night in question are testament to his professionalism and commitment to his work."
For their bravery PC Steve Jay and police dog Aman have been presented with two awards over the last few months.
In November they were awarded with a Special Recognition gong at the Ipswich Star's Stars of Suffolk ceremony.
And earlier this month they were presented with the prestigious Police Dog Action of the Year Award 2011 at this year's Crufts Dog Show.
PC Steve Jay said: "I am pleased that justice has been brought against Asher Picort.
"This was a very difficult night for all involved. In excess of 15 officers were deployed to ensure that members of the public were kept safe and that other officers were not put in harms way.
"I turned up towards the end when Asher Picort had been cornered and attempts to control him with both pava spray and the use of a taser had not affected him. The use of police dogs is considered the most powerful tool and deterrent we can use.
"My immediate instinct when I saw Aman being stabbed was to step in to try to control the offender and disarm him. Upon doing so nearby firearms and response officers moved in, restrained and disarmed him.
"Although I have received recognition for what I did on the night, for which I am very proud, the incident was dealt with from the outset by a number of officers who equally showed dedication and commitment in a very challenging situation.
"Aman and I returned to full operational duty after a period of recuperation and I am pleased to say that there has been no lasting physical or physiological side affects."
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