Man jailed for stabbing female police officer in face with pen

Emily Pennink, PA Old Bailey Correspondent
·3-min read

A man who stabbed a female police officer in the face with a pen has been jailed for nearly four years.

Adrian Popa, 40, had admitted threatening to kill Pc Alexandra Dobbs and assaulting her on August 16 last year.

Jailing him at the Old Bailey, Judge Richard Marks QC said: “Attacks on police officers will not be tolerated and those convicted of such an attack will be dealt with severely by the courts.”

The court heard how Popa had been spotted by a neighbour lurking in the back garden of his ex-partner’s home in Edgware, north London.

The Battersea Power Station safety supervisor had been barred under bail conditions from going to the property after being charged over an alleged domestic assault.

Pc Dobbs was among the first on the scene and was attacked by Popa as she attempted to detain him.

The incident was captured on graphic police body-worn video which was played in court.

Prosecutor Sarah Przybylska told how Pc Dobbs had Tasered the Romanian defendant after he came at her.

Ms Przybylska said: “She heard him growl and believed that the Taser had activated and caused him pain, but had not been able to stop him because he was too close.

“He looked at her with his hand in a fist and said, ‘I’m going to kill you’.

“He came at her. She tried to cuff him. She saw the pen sticking out of his fist as he hit her again and again.

“She was not able to hold on to the Taser and it fell to the ground. The blows were hard enough to force her face away. He hit her shoulder. She thought that he had hit her at least five times. She felt helpless.”

Pc Dobbs suffered multiple wounds to her face and neck and scratches to her shoulder.

The officer, who attended court, was left permanently scarred with increased anxiety as a result of the incident.

She said in a victim impact statement: “I have used lotions and make-up to conceal the scars on my cheek, but I am constantly reminded of what took place.

“The scarring has knocked my confidence as a person, I feel paranoid that people are staring at me.

“The threat of what could have happened scares me to this day.”
In mitigation, the court heard that Popa had been suffering from depression and was remorseful.

Sentencing, Judge Marks acknowledged the impact on Pc Dobbs’ life had been “profound”.

Adrian Popa has been jailed for nearly four years
Adrian Popa has been jailed for nearly four years (Metropolitan Police/PA)

He jailed Popa for three years and 10 months for the threat to kill and 15 months for assault occasioning actual bodily harm to run concurrently.

The court heard the domestic violence case against Popa was dropped after his former partner refused to give evidence.

Detective Constable Huss Ahmed, the investigating officer, said: “The officer in this incident is incredibly lucky. But for sheer fortune, her injuries may well have been life-changing or worse, and we could have been looking at a very different investigation.

“I am glad Popa has admitted his guilt, and will now serve a custodial sentence. This serves a reminder that we will pursue anyone who attacks our colleagues, and will work to put them before the courts to face justice.”

Chief Inspector James Noble, of Scotland Yard’s North West Command Unit, said: “This example highlights the risk that police officers face when they go to work.

“No officer should expect to be attacked in this way. Popa is a violent man who will now face the consequences of his abhorrent actions that day. We have and will always work to pursue charges against those who assault emergency workers.”