Outcry at 'gangster' sentence

A TEENAGE "would-be gangster" with a history of violence who left a Sheffield policeman with horrific injuries has been jailed – but could be out in just two months.

The sentence given to Barrington Broomfield, who admitted the attack, was today branded "a mockery" by the Police Federation who said it could encourage other criminals to "take a chance and assault police officers".

Sgt Peter Hilton, who suffered a broken knee during a violent struggle with the 19-year-old, whom he was trying to search for drugs, told The Star he has still not returned to work since the incident last April - and does not know if he will fully recover.

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He said: "I think I am going to have to live with the consequences for the rest of my life."

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Broomfield, of Netherthorpe Street, Netherthorpe, has previous convictions for robbery, threatening behaviour and drugs, and once boasted his estate was a "no-go area for police".

In May 2006, the 19-year-old and two other yobs, described as "would-be gangsters" by police, were made subject of a two year anti-social behaviour order banning them from parts of Netherthorpe and Upperthorpe. They were said to have left residents in fear.

Broomfield, nicknamed 'Frizzy', pleaded guilty to causing grievous bodily harm to Sgt Hilton at Sheffield Crown Court, and also admitted possessing cannabis.

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The judge, Recorder Guy Kearl QC, sentenced him to 12 months in a young offenders' institution.

But, because Broomfield has already spent 116 days on remand and all criminals are released from custody after half their sentences, he will only serve another 66 days behind bars.

Insp Bob Pitt, chairman of the Police Federation in South Yorkshire, said: "This sentence seems to make a mockery of serving as any sort of deterrent.

"Despite his background, he still gets to walk away with a sentence like this. I would have hoped to have seen a much more substantial punishment.

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"We have concerns about the sort of sentences given to people who attack police officers and public sector workers. What this does is encourage other criminals to take a chance and assault police officers."

Sgt Hilton, who has been in the police for nine years, said: "I would have preferred a stiffer sentence.

"I need to see my surgeon next week who will be able to tell me if my knee is sufficiently strong enough for me to return to front-line duty.

"I was unable to walk for six weeks. It's incredibly frustrating and it will be a hard slog to get back to work."

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Sheffield Crown Court heard Sgt Hilton's knee broke when his left leg became horribly twisted during the struggle with Broomfield in St Philip's Road, Netherthorpe.

Broomfield was in a suspicious car which Sgt Hilton and another officer had stopped. He refused to be searched for drugs and tried to run away but Sgt Hilton grabbed him.

Sentencing Broomfield, Recorder Kearl said: "The courts will protect police officers carrying out their public duty".

But he accepted Broom-field's defence that Sgt Hilton's injury was unintended, and he said that he would keep the jail term "as short as possible".

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