My friend, Paul Beecroft, has spent a good deal of his life in law enforcement, in England. He’s worked Foot Patrol, Area Car, Instant Response Car and also as a Police Motorcyclist. He’s currently a coroner’s investigator and has traveled all over England, Wales, Scotland and even Germany to investigate crimes.
Today, Paul has taken some time away from shoveling snow (enough to shut down Heathrow) to fill us in on some of the crime in his neck of the woods. Thanks, Paul. As always, it’s good to hear from you.
Last Week In England
Man jailed for the attempted murder of police officer and robbery of betting shop – Bracknell
A man who was released from prison on licence only days before stabbing a police officer in Bracknell and robbing a betting shop has been jailed for life.
Kes Nattriss, aged 28, of no fixed abode, was jailed for life for attempting to murder a police officer, with a determinate sentence of 25 years. He received life imprisonment for robbery and a four year sentence for being in possession of an offensive weapon. These are to be served concurrently.
The sentences were heard at Reading Crown Court this afternoon (10/12) and come into affect from today (10/12).
On Thursday last week (2/12), Nattriss was found guilty of attempted murder by a unanimous verdict following a trial at Reading Crown Court. He was remanded in custody to await sentencing today (10/12). Nattriss pleaded guilty to robbery and possession of an offensive weapon at an earlier hearing.
On Wednesday 19 May 2010, only five days after being released from prison having served a sentence for committing 11 robberies at off-licences and one bookmaker, Nattriss entered Corals, Liscombe, Birch Hill, Bracknell, shortly before midday.
The 28-year-old walked up to the counter and handed over a betting slip to a member of staff who initially thought that he had completed it incorrectly. However, upon second glance, she saw that the note read: “Give me all the money and their won’t be a seen” (sic). The staff member asked Nattriss whether he was joking, to which he replied: “No.”
Det Con Luke Simms – a plain clothed officer who was in the shop at the time with his colleague conducting enquiries into an unrelated matter- was standing nearby and caught a glimpse of the note. He quickly realised that there was a robbery in progress, recognised Nattriss from a recent police photograph and knew that he had previous convictions for armed robbery. The detective whispered to his colleague – Det Con Lisa Child – the situation and the fact that they needed to call for assistance. She immediately left the shop. However, moments later Det Con Child described Nattriss leaving the shop followed by Det Con Simms who tried to arrest him.
During the arrest attempt, Det Con Simms recalled being lunged at and Nattriss running off. Det Con Child noticed blood on Det Con Simms’ shirt and immediately thought that he had been stabbed. The pair went back into Corals where Det Con Child administered first aid before being joined by paramedics. The seriously injured officer was taken to Frimley Park Hospital. The consultant who saw Det Con Simms upon admission realised that his condition was critical and required immediate emergency surgery to stop a severe bleed to the abdomen.
Meanwhile, officers from Thames Valley, along with an off-duty police officer from another Force who was in the vicinity, conducted an area search for the offender. The Force’s helicopter and dog unit also provided assistance. As more information developed, the search widened to the Wokingham area, in particular Wokingham railway station. Officers sitting in an unmarked car conducting observations for the offender spotted Nattriss get off a train at approximately 1.30pm and into a taxi. The taxi was followed by these officers who provided a running commentary to officers from the Tactical Firearms Team, who stopped the vehicle in Nine Mile Ride and arrested Nattriss. A knife was found in some bushes not far from Corals.
In custody, Nattriss was presented with the full facts of the case, including CCTV evidence. He replied ‘no comment’ to all questions. He was later charged with one count of robbery relating to the incident at Corals, one count of attempted murder following the critical injuries sustained by Det Con Simms, and one count of being in possession of a knife.
Det Ch Insp Steve Tolmie, senior investigating officer, said: “I am pleased with today’s sentence which reflects the severity of the offences committed by Nattriss – a very dangerous man who deserves to be locked up for a very long time.
“I hope that today will hopefully go some way towards helping bring closure to the victims of these incidents and their families.
“Nattriss showed complete disregard for the safety of any individual who decided to confront him on the day. Detectives Luke Simms and Lisa Child acted courageously in tackling him and they should be commended for their actions. The severity of this incident illustrates the type of incidents police officers can be faced with.
“Nattriss has also shown a complete disregard for law and order, as he committed these offences only days after he was released from prison on licence.
He added: “When released from prison, Nattriss failed to meet probation officers as required. His licence was therefore immediately revoked and he was actively being sought by the authorities. On the day he committed the offences in May this year, he knowingly carried a knife which he was willing to use.”
CPS reviewing lawyer Adrian Roberts said: “DC Simms was subjected to a wicked and unnecessary knife attack by Kes Nattriss, who had been released from a lengthy prison sentence for other serious offences only days before the incident, and knew his victim was a police officer.
“This attack has caused a great deal of distress to DC Simms, who nearly died, and to his family and colleagues. Only the skill of the surgeon saved his life. We would like to commend the bravery of DC Simms, who was doing his duty to the public by trying to arrest a man for a very serious offence. By doing so, he placed his own life in jeopardy.
“Nattriss has been brought before the courts and the jury has convicted him of attempted murder, having concluded that he intended to kill the officer when he stabbed him. We will prosecute people who carry knives and use them to cause harm, intimidate others and most importantly, to threaten the lives of decent people doing their legitimate business.
“Today Nattriss has been sent to prison for many years and justice has been served. We hope this outcome means that DC Simms can now move forward with his life.”
In 2006, Nattriss, who was 23 years old at the time, was charged with 11 offences relating to robberies in the Woking, Addlestone, Wokingham and Bracknell areas in May that year. He was sentenced to seven years and nine months in prison.
An account from DC Luke Simms, stabbed during an incident in Bracknell this year
Scene of the attempted murder of LC Luke Simms
An account from DC Luke Simms, stabbed during an incident in Bracknell this year:
While I was conducting routine enquiries at a bookmakers in Bracknell, a robbery took place. I approached the offender to detain him, but, unknown to me, he had a concealed weapon – a knife – which he plunged into my side. After a brief struggle the offender fell backwards and ran from the scene.
Paramedics were called and I was taken to Frimley Park Hospital where emergency surgery was performed.
The knife used by the offender had entered my left abdomen area, cutting through the spleen, through the diaphragm and puncturing the lung.
I was not aware of the stab wound until after the offender had run from the scene. I didn’t feel any pain. When somebody told me I had been stabbed I did not at first realise how badly injured I was. It was not until a couple of minutes later that the effects of the stab wound took hold of me. I began to feel faint and was finding breathing very difficult. Unknown to me, my left lung had collapsed. At this point I was desperately trying to stay conscious and keep breathing properly. At times I felt like I was drifting away and at one stage thought I might not make it.
I spent four days in the intensive care ward and seven days in hospital in total.
Surgeons and nurses at the hospital did an incredible job in treating and caring for me.
The incident has made me aware of how big Thames Valley Police is and the support they can offer. I received hundreds of get well soon wishes and praise for my actions on the day in question from both colleagues and concerned members of the public. The attention I received from the welfare officer was vital in getting back to work. I was particularly impressed by colleagues at Bracknell who clubbed together to buy me a Playstation 3 to assist with my recovery at home, and a collection which allowed my partner and I to spend a few days away together to get our lives back on track. Off work for 3½ months, I returned in September, working restricted light duties.
On the day in question, soon after the note was passed to the cashier behind the counter I quickly realised that there was a robbery in progress, recognised Nattriss from a recent police photograph and knew that he had previous convictions for armed robbery. It was only after the incident that I actually discovered that he had previously committed 11 armed robberies in 2006, was sentenced to seven years nine months in prison, and was released on licence five days prior to committing the incidents in May this year. My family was disgusted that somebody who was clearly a threat to the public was allowed back out on the streets.
Mr Nattriss pleaded not guilty to offences involving my attack. The case was scheduled to be heard at Reading Crown Court on my 36th birthday. At court I was made aware that the defendant was represented by a QC and I was amazed at the efforts being made to exclude evidence from witnesses about Mr Nattriss’ previous bad character. Likewise Mr Nattriss seemed to be dismissive of the legal process and avoided giving evidence. Thankfully the jury came back after deliberation with a unanimous guilty verdict. I am pleased with the result and hopefully Mr Nattriss will be given a long sentence which reflects the crimes committed. This will allow my family and me to have some closure and move on.
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Farmer accidentally shoots burglars
A disabled farmer trying to kill a fox accidentally shot and wounded two burglars raiding a cannabis farm he did not know existed.
Edward Tibbs, 62, fired his shotgun three times into the dark from the seat of his mobility scooter after being woken in the early hours.
He was aiming at a fox trying to steal geese from an enclosure on his 650-acre arable farm in Crays Hill, Billericay, Essex, but hidden in the darkness were two men trying to break into an outhouse he had rented out and which now contained a secret drugs factory.
They suffered gunshot wounds to their backs and legs and suspicious hospital doctors called in police.
Several hours later, a team of police marksmen, accompanied by a helicopter, stormed into Mr Tibbs’s home and arrested him on suspicion of attempted murder.
The extraordinary story only came to light after investigators told Mr Tibbs he would face no further action.
Mr Tibbs, who suffers multiple sclerosis and neuralgia, said the “horrendous” three-month Essex Police investigation “devastated” his family and business.
Speaking about the shooting, he said: “They must have been 50 or 60 yards away, probably further. If they had been 30 yards off I would have killed them.
“It was pitch black. Black as your hat. There are no lights here at all. I came out of lights, the house, and saw the fox. I know which way they go and saw movement and fired three times at it and that was that.
“I never knew I had hit anyone, no screams or hollering, no nothing. I just came back indoors.”
* * *
Man In Court Over Banbury Double Murder
A man has been remanded in custody after appearing in court charged with murdering a woman and her son at the home they shared in Oxfordshire.
The bodies of Sally Cox, 43, and 22-year-old Martin Faulkner were discovered in a “horrific scene” at the terraced house in Banbury on Monday.
Michael Kelly was arrested by police at a residential address in Swindon hours after the victims’ remains were found.
The 45-year-old was charged with two counts of murder, Thames Valley Police said.
During a brief hearing at Banbury Magistrates’ Court, Kelly, from Swindon, spoke only to confirm his name and address.
He is due to appear at Oxford Crown Court on Thursday.
Kelly, who wore a light grey tracksuit, is also accused of one count of grievous bodily harm.
This charge relates to a 19-year-old girl who was badly injured in the incident, thought to be Mrs Cox’s daughter Amy.
Two teenagers, said to be Amy and Mrs Cox’s other daughter, 13-year-old Katie, were in the house at the time of the attack but managed to escape.
Amy is in a serious but stable condition at Oxford’s John Radcliffe Hospital, while her sister Katie is “severely traumatised” but had no physical injuries.
A post-mortem examination on Mrs Cox revealed she died of multiple head injuries caused by a “heavy bladed instrument”, a spokesman for the police force said.
Results of her son’s post-mortem are yet to be revealed.
Officers who went to the house were confronted by a “horrific scene”, with two people “obviously dead or very close to death”, Detective Inspector Steve Duffy said.
He added: “All I can confirm is their injuries are consistent with blunt trauma and I can’t say if an axe was used, but a firearm was not used.”
Mrs Cox and her family are believed to have lived in their house for a year