An axeman who attacked a female police officer in Sheffield, leaving her fighting for her life, has been sentenced to 15 years in custody.
Nathan Sumner struck PC Lisa Bates repeatedly with the weapon as she lay helpless after responding to a call at his home in Plowright Close, Gleadless Valley, on April 13 of this year.
The officer, who was left with a partially-severed finger and a fractured skull, having broken her leg jumping down a staircase in an attempt to escape, says she still suffers flashbacks and may never be able to return to the force.
Sumner, who was in October found guilty of grievous bodily harm with intent but acquitted of attempted murder, today appeared at Sheffield Crown Court where he was given a 15-year custodial sentence, with an extra five years on licence.
The 36-year-old who has schizophrenia will be transferred to a psychiatric hospital where he will be detained under the Mental Health Act until doctors consider him fit to be transferred to prison. He must serve at least two thirds of his time in custody before he can be considered for release.
Sentencing him, Judge Julian Goose QC said: "It was truly shocking violence you used against PC Bates.
"One witness described you waiting for the officer to move her arms out of the way as she tried to defend herself while you rained down blows upon her...
"She begged you to stop and to let her go but you ignored her plea for mercy. She believed she was going to be killed by you as she was defenceless on the ground, unable to move away."
The court heard how Sumner, who lived with his partner in a second-floor maisonette, had schizophrenia and in the days leading up to the attack his behaviour had been 'increasingly erratic' and he had been displaying 'paranoid thinking'.
Judge Goose said the defendant kept an axe at home, which he used to strike at objects within the building and to threaten his girlfriend.
Police were called that day by a concerned neighbour and when PC Bates arrived with her colleague PC Mark Garrett, Sumner immediately attacked PC Garrett, only stopping after being sprayed in the face by PC Bates.
He then grabbed the axe and chased after the terrified officers brandishing the weapon. PC Bates broke her leg jumping down a staircase to escape him, and he stood over the defenceless officer as he struck her repeatedly with the axe.
He eventually stopped, dropped the weapon and walked to a nearby Co-op store, where it required several officers to detain him, one of whom was bitten in the process.
The court heard how PC Bates had to cancel her wedding and honeymoon due to her injuries, and feels afraid to venture out in public in her hometown of Sheffield.
Describing the impact in a statement read out in court, she told how she remained unable to walk, may never regain full use of her injured finger and suffers flashbacks and nightmares.
"The physical effects of the incident include the inability to walk or use stairs on my own feet. My finger has not and probably won't regain its full range of motion," she wrote in the statement....
"I continue to suffer from headaches, nausea, nightmares and flashbacks. Despite counselling, I still struggle with sleeping, anxiety and depression. I have lost a dramatic amount of weight and am still taking several forms of medication."
She went on to say how after serving for 13 years as a police officer she feels her injuries and the trauma she continues to suffer may mean she is never able to return to the force.
See Monday's Sheffield Star for an exclusive interview with Nathan Sumner's mother.