WILTSHIRE Police’s chief constable has slammed the “unnecessary and aggressive” behaviour of a father-of-two after a police officer was left injured by his actions.
Marlon Joao dragged PC Joanna Halewood down the A419 after she stopped him for driving the wrong way down the dual-carriageway in the early hours of April 26.
The officer, herself a mother, reached into Joao’s vehicle to take the keys out of the ignition after he ignored her instructions when he grabbed her arm and pulled off, dragging her a short distance down the carriageway.
It left her with two fractures to her ankle, tendon damage to her wrist, and she is questioning whether to return to frontline policing.
Joao, from Merton Court in Eynsham, Oxfordshire, was jailed for 32 months at Salisbury Crown Court on Wednesday (June 22).
In a statement to the court, the top officer at Wiltshire Police, Chief Constable Kier Pritchard, said that officers have a right to go about their job without the fear of being assaulted.
He said: “My officers and staff work tirelessly to protect the vulnerable, keep communities safe and to prevent and detect crime. They have a right to go about their daily duty without the fear of being assaulted.
“Both officers who were in attendance during this part of the incident have suffered significant trauma due to the actions of the defendant. These police officers acted in the face of unnecessary and aggressive behaviour.
“The violent and dangerous actions of the defendant will have an incredible impact on the officers.
“The officers were present to ensure the safety of the defendant and the public, and maintain calm and order. This is unacceptable behaviour towards the officers just for doing their jobs keeping our communities safe.
“Despite this and the protection they are afforded through their personal issue appointments (police uniform and kit), being physically or verbally assaulted should never be tolerated or considered to be acceptable as part of their public duty.”
After the assault on PC Halewood, Joao led officers on a pursuit along the A419 to the Honda junction, to Gablecross, and back to Commonhead and along Marlborough Road before he eventually was cornered in Edison business park.
During the chase, the 40-year-old reached speeds of 110 miles per hour, went through red lights, the wrong way around roundabouts and narrowly avoided a head on collision with an unmarked police car.