Savage drug-fuelled knifeman left brave policeman permanently scarred

A Derby police officer said he “could have been blinded or even killed” when he was slashed across the face during what a judge called “a drug-fuelled, uncontrollable violent rampage.”

In a hugely powerful victim impact statement, courageous PC Steve Reid told how his loving and supportive wife will “always see the scars on my face which will never go away”.

The dad-of-three said the time will also come when his two young grandchildren will ask “grandad, what are those lines on your face”.

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And the coward who carried out the savage slashing on him, Richard Jefford, could not even muster the same courage to leave his prison cell to face the brave officer whose life he has changed forever.

In his statement, which he read himself to the court, PC Reid said: “Mr Jefford will serve his sentence and be able to get on with the rest of his life.

“Every time my wife looks at me she will see the scars on my face that will never go away.”

Derby Crown Court, sitting at Nottingham Crown Court, heard how PC Reid required 15 stitches across two huge facial wounds inflicted on him by the defendant.

At the time, the officer, who told how he has proudly served with Derbyshire police for 20 years, was with a newly-trained female colleague and were responding to reports of a robbery carried out minutes earlier by Jefford in the Slack Lane area of the city.

As they tried to get the drug-crazed 39-year-old under control the defendant produced a flick knife and slashed the officer twice to the face.

Jailing him in his absence for 10 years, Judge Robert Egbuna said: “It was a horribly dangerous weapon and the injuries speak volumes.

“You could have killed the officer, you could have blinded the officer.

“You have left him with permanent scarring. It was sheer luck neither if these happened.

“The impact in his wife and family had been devastating.

“The impact on his colleagues has been devastating.

“The impact of PC Reid has been devastating.

“In his statement he says during 20 years serving with the police he has been assaulted on a number of occasions, sadly, just carrying out his public duties.

“But he describes this himself as ‘totally off the scale’ and you did this to him.”

The incident happened on October 15, 2019 and Jefford, of no fixed address, took the matter to trial last December denying he meant to cause the injuries he did.

That trial collapsed and a retrial was due to take place in late July of this year.

But Jefford showed just one ounce of courage by finally admitting his guilt and pleading guilty to wounding with intent to cause grievous bodily harm, robbery and other associated lesser offences related to his night of rampage.

In his victim impact statement, PC Reid said: “After I was treated for my injuries I wore a hooded top and a baseball cap everywhere I went.

“I thought members of the public would make a judgment of me and may speculate about how I got the injuries.

“When I got the courage to so to a coffee shop, I would put the left side of my face toward the wall so no-one could see my injuries.

“This is a once in a career incident and when my two grandchildren get older the scars I carry will be a constant battle for them.

“They will say ‘granddad, what are those lines on your face?”

John Richards, for Jefford, said he had little to offer the court in mitigation in behalf of his client.

He said: “He does wish to convey his apologies to the officer for what happened, he does say he is ashamed.”

Speaking after sentencing, Rachel Swann, Chief Constable of Derbyshire Police, said: ““Steve is an outstanding officer who has served the communities of Derbyshire for two decades.

“He was doing his duty when he tried to apprehend Jefford but was subjected to a terrible attack.

“I know that his physical and mental scars are still healing as a result of this incident and I can only imagine the trauma that Steve and his family must have experienced as a result.

“While policing requires officers and staff to handle difficult and hostile situations, assaults upon them are serious and unacceptable and should not be tolerated – they are not simply part of the job.

“The public call upon us to help them when they are most in need.

“We have a duty to protect the public but we are all too often prevented from doing so due to violent individuals who choose to attack those who are there to help them.”

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Courtesy of Derbyshire Live – Derby News