South Yorkshire man jailed after 'unprovoked, sustained and horrific' attack left police officer with serious head injuries

Dale Francis Cheetham's attack left the police officer with serious head injuries.
Dale Francis Cheetham's attack left the police officer with serious head injuries.
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A 22-year-old South Yorkshire man has today been sent to prison for 14 and a half years after an horrific attack left a police officer with serious head injuries.

Dale Francis Cheetham, of no fixed abode, admitted seriously assaulting the officer in Doncaster on September 19 last year, along with a range of other crimes.

The police officer's injuries were initially thought to be life-threatening.

The police officer's injuries were initially thought to be life-threatening.

At 5.30am that morning, Cheetham had stolen a Fiat Punto from Bolton-on-Dearne with fellow defendant Peter White, 25, who is also known as Peter Manning.

The theft, during which the driver was threatened at knifepoint, began a series of violent events culminating in the serious assault of a police officer who had tried to apprehend them.

Around two hours later, at 7.30am, police received a call from Doncaster Council who had captured Cheetham and White on CCTV assaulting a man at Sandbeck House, Doncaster, after pulling up in the stolen car.

After the attack, both men got into the Fiat and drove off, where they were spotted by a police officer in an unmarked car in Cleveland Street, Doncaster, who noticed that Cheetham was struggling to control his vehicle.

The Fiat subsequently crashed into a metal barrier, with Cheetham and White running from the vehicle into the Hexthorpe area, pursued by police officers.

Doncaster Commander, Chief Superintendent Shaun Morley, said: “After Cheetham and White fled from the crashed Fiat on Cleveland Street, they were chased by one of our police sergeants down an alleyway near Sheardown Street.

“What came next was an unprovoked, sustained and horrific attack against one of our own, which left an officer with serious head injuries.

"Cheetham repeatedly struck our officer about the head, at one point attempting to grab his baton before managing to take the officer’s handcuffs out of his pocket and using these to inflict further blows to the officer’s head.

“There is no doubt that he intended to cause our officer serious harm and his injuries could have been far more severe – indeed, for a short time immediately after the attack, the injuries were deemed to be life-threatening. This was a truly horrifying assault and the impact of that morning on our policing family will be felt for some time.

“This incident sent shockwaves throughout the local community, officers and staff in Doncaster and indeed the wider force, and I am grateful to everyone who has offered their well-wishes and support throughout the criminal investigation.”

At a hearing before Sheffield Crown Court on 14 February, Cheetham, of no fixed abode, pleaded guilty to robbery, possession of a bladed article, assault occasioning actual bodily harm, and driving while disqualified.

In relation to the attack against the officer, Cheetham also pleaded guilty to Section 18 wounding with intent to resist arrest and use of an offensive weapon.

White, of Low Road, Conisbrough, who pleaded guilty to one count of assault occasioning actual bodily harm in relation to the incident at Sandbeck House, was jailed today for 18 months.