Man jailed after ramming his 4x4 into a police car in Hartlepool and leaving officer fearing he would die

A police officer thought that he was going to die when his car was rammed twice at midnight by a 4x4 on a town centre street.

Monday, 9th December 2019, 12:59 pm
Updated Monday, 9th December 2019, 7:05 pm
Paul Morton

Detective Constable Andrew Menzies said he believed that his wife was going to get a message saying that he had died in the Hartlepool attack on Tuesday, October 1.

He was left bleeding from a serious head injury and unconscious when the Mitsubishi Shogun deliberately reversed twice into his marked police car parked outside a house on Challenor Road.

He recovered slightly as the silver Shogun pulled away and then it reversed from further away into the his car.

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DC Menzies said in a statement read out at Teesside Crown Court that he decided to stay in the vehicle because he would have no protection if he got out onto the street.

A man ran from a nearby pub and tapped on the window and the officer told him to go away fearing for the man’s safety.

Prosecutor Harry Hadfield said the Mitsubishi driven by Paul Morton, 31, finally reversed out of a house garden and it drove away leaving DC Menzies unconscious as he was taken to hospital where four staples were put in to his head wound.

The Shogun’s exhaust was found at the scene and police later found the vehicle abandoned 15 miles away in Durham City. The judge ordered that it should be forfeited.

DC Menzies said that he had been a police officer for 11 years and he had never known anything like it happen to him before.

He said that the second time the Shogun ran into the police car the driver had a long run up: “I thought that I was not going to go to my home again.”

He said he thought that the driver knew that the police car had someone in it. He chose to stay in it because he would not have any protection if he got out.

Morton was arrested the next day and he chose to remain silent in interview.

Mr Hadfield said that he had 10 convictions for 14 offences including assaulting a woman police officer saying “I don’t care if you’re the police”, and he was in breach of a suspended prison sentence.

Richard Herrmann, defending, told the judge: “I concede that the car was used as a weapon and that with regard to the history your honour will no doubt remain towards the top end of that range.

“He is in fact a man suffering from mental health. He is remorseful. He is entitled to full credit for his guilty plea.

“He was charged with criminal damage and endangering life at the early stage.”

Morton, of Brearley Way, Gateshead, pleaded guilty to actual bodily harm assaults on DC Menzies, dangerous driving and driving with excess alcohol.

Judge Howard Crowson told him: “This is a very serious incident and it’s not entirely clear why you were there.

“You’re not a resident of this area, you’re from Gateshead. I have seen a letter from you saying you were not aware it was a police car.

“When you reversed at it and caused the level of harm that you did you were responsible for it. It was a very deliberate and very dangerous piece of driving.

“The officer received a very significant cut to the head. My expectation is that he might continue to live with the real feeling that he might lose his life.”

Morton was jailed for two years and disqualified for two years, and ordered to pay £150 towards compensation to the officer.