Rookie police officer left with serious brain injury from single punch by violent thug

PC Leo Clarke suffered a bleed on the brain after being punched in the head and is still recovering from his injuries

Warning: some people may find the image in this story upsetting

A rookie police officer has been left with serious injury after being punched in the head by a violent thug.

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PC Leo Clarke, 24, suffered a potentially deadly bleed on the brain after he was assaulted by Joshua Gull, 27, just as he started his new career in the police force.

PC Leo Clarke suffered a potentially deadly bleed on the brain after he was assaulted by Joshua Gull (Photo: SWNS)

The attack left him in hospital for five days and he is still recovering from his injuries, while surgery left him with huge scars across his head.

A ‘prisoner’ at home

The devastation of PC Clarke’s injuries were revealed in a witness impact statement which was read at Peterborough Crown Court on Wednesday (28 April), where Mr Gull was jailed for one year and eight months.

In a statement read out in court, PC Clarke explained that the incident had left him feeling like a ‘prisoner in his own home’ and a ‘burden to everyone’ as he continues his recovery.

PC Leo Clarke suffered a potentially deadly bleed on the brain after he was assaulted (Photo: SWNS)

He said: "This incident has left me feeling like a burden on everyone.

"I used to love driving but it’s hard now as I have to be driven everywhere in relation to things such as appointments or even to go to the shop.

"I feel like a prisoner as such in my own house because the recovery is so slow and I would really like to go out with my family but I can't due to the injury.

"I used to love going out with friends, drinking, going to work and socialising but I can't do any of that now and that is really hard for me, just sitting at home and doing nothing.

"I was a really active person and for that now to be taken away, with the possibility that some of these injuries might never go away, makes me feel quite upset."

The court heard how PC Clarke visited Gull's family home in Peterborough, Cambridgeshire, at 4.45pm on 8 February, after he became violent towards members of his family at the property.

He found Mr Gull and his father standing in the street, and the 27-year-old became angry and agitated when PC Clarke activated his body-worn video camera.

Mr Gull then grabbed the officer, and took on a fighting stance.

PC Clarke, who was a new-in-service police officer, attempted to use PAVA spray - a substance similar to pepper spray - but to no avail, as Mr Gull punched him in the head.

Mr Gull was arrested soon afterwards, but when PC Clarke returned to Peterborough Police Station, a welfare check by a supervisor discovered he was squinting and had started to slur his words.

He was taken to Peterborough City Hospital where it was found he had suffered a bleed on the brain.

The officer underwent surgery and remained in hospital for five days before returning home, where he continues to recover.

Sentenced in court

Mr Gull, of Oundle, Northamptonshire, admitted causing grievous bodily harm without intent at Peterborough Crown Court and was sentenced to one year and eight months in jail on Wednesday (28 April).

While in custody, Mr Gull told officers he regretted what he had done and had been suffering with his mental health.

The court heard that Mr Gull had missed a psychiatric appointment at Peterborough City Hospital on the morning of the assault, and walked to the family address prior to speaking with a doctor.

DC Mat Belfitt, who investigated, said: "This was a violent attack against a new-in-service police officer who was simply doing his job in responding to reports of concern for this man.

"On average, there are 42 assaults on officers in Cambridgeshire every month and this incident sadly highlights the dangers officers face on a daily basis.

"Being subjected to such abuse will not be tolerated and we will continue to take strong action."

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