Axeman accused of attempting to kill Sheffield PC opts not to give evidence

Nathan Sumner
Nathan Sumner

The man accused of attempting to murder Sheffield police officer Lisa Bates with an axe has opted not to give evidence in his defence.

Nathan Sumner, aged 35 and of Plowright Close, Gleadless Valley, has already pleaded guilty to inflicting grievous bodily harm on PC Bates, but denies attempted murder and an alternative count of causing GBH with intent.

A jury at Sheffield Crown Court was told by David Brooke, representing Sumner, on Thursday that the defendant had chosen not to take to the witness stand.

Mr Brooke said: “I do not propose to call any evidence on the part of the defence.”

Judge Julian Goose QC, Honorary Recorder of Sheffield, asked if the defendant was aware that it was permissible for the jury to draw ‘inferences’ from his failure to give evidence.

Mr Brooke said this was the case.

All the evidence in the trial has now been heard.

A defence closing speech is due to take place on Monday before the judge sums up the evidence the jury have heard ahead of them retiring to consider their verdict.

PC Bates was attacked on April 13 as her and a colleague responded to a call at Sumner’s address.

She suffered an injury to her head and one of her fingers was partially severed in the incident.

The court has previously heard that Sumner was suffering a psychotic episode during the incident

The trial has heard that Sumner had been acting ‘oddly’ in the days before the incident, ‘going on about aliens and swinging an axe about’ in the maisonette he shared with his girlfriend.

He was eventually arrested in a nearby Co-op store, having bitten another police officer and grabbing a police baton off another as he was being restrained.

Mr Brooke has previously told the jury it is their job to assess Sumner’s state of mind at the time of the incident, when he was ‘mentally ill’.

The prosecution say Sumner’s actions show he intended to kill PC Bates.

The trial continues.