Sheffield axe attack: Nathan Sumner found not guilty of attempted murder of PC Lisa Bates

Nathan Sumner
Nathan Sumner
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A 35-year-old man has been found not guilty of attempted murder over an axe attack he carried out on Sheffield police officer Lisa Bates.

A jury at Sheffield Crown Court took less than three hours to reach a not guilty verdict in the case of Nathan Sumner for attempted murder.

But while they found Sumner had not intended to kill PC Bates, the jury did find him guilty of an alternative count of causing grievous bodily harm with intent.

Sumner had admitted a lesser charge of inflicting GBH before the start of the trial.

Sumner, aged 35, of Plowright Close, Gleadless Valley, attacked PC Bates with an axe on the evening of April 13 this year.

He showed no reaction as the verdicts were delivered.

Lisa Bates

Lisa Bates

Sumner will be sentenced on December 2. Judge Julian Goose QC asked for an updated mental health assessment to be carried out on the defendant before that hearing takes place.

The defence had argued during the case that Sumner was suffering a psychotic episode at the time and was not in control of his actions. They said he had not intended to kill PC Bates.

Sam Green QC, prosecuting, told the jury at the opening of the trial that Sumner had been 'taunting' PC Bates as he repeatedly hit her with an axe.

One of her fingers was left hanging off and she suffered a fractured skull in the attack.

The trial 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.

Mr Green said that three days before the incident, Sumner had put his girlfriend up against a wall, punched and headbutted her, dropped her on her face and then pinned her to a bed while asking if her life was worth £100 to her father.

He said Sumner's 'strange and volatile behaviour' continued until the day of the incident on April 13, with Sumner starting to 'smash up' the living room using his axe.

The police were called by a neighbour in a flat below at about 7.30pm - resulting in PC Bates and her colleague PC Mark Garrett being sent to the scene.

Mr Green said Sumner, wearing only a pair of shorts, 'flew out' of his property and pinned PC Garrett up against a wall. This led PC Bates to attempt to use incapacitating spray on Sumner, which instead affected her colleague.

The defendant then ran back into his flat, returning with the axe.

PC Bates broke her leg jumping down a staircase in an attempt to escape Sumner, leading to the attack.

She was dragged to safety by a witness called Simon Ellis, who saw the attack unfold.

Sumner was later arrested in a nearby Co-op. After biting one officer and grabbing a baton from another, he was Tasered before being arrested.

A video from a mobile phone taken by a policeman after the arrest showed Sumner saying to officers: "I have started off World War III. Get me an ambulance. In about 20 minutes, I'm going to die. This is my suicide mission.

"I'm the trigger, the mechanism. If I do it, you all die.

"You're starting World War Three. I'm going to go off in 30 minutes."


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