A 'very dangerous young man' taken off the streets


A ‘very dangerous’ man with paranoid schizophrenia tried to kill a police officer by stabbing him in the neck with a craft knife in a random attack. Jacob Brown also stabbed a second officer in the terrifying incident in south Manchester in July 2023.

While on remand in prison waiting for his case to come to court the 27-year-old also stabbed two prison officers in two separate incidents. In the second of those attacks, he used a ‘hard plastic prison-issue knife’ which had been sharpened to a point to repeatedly stab a guard while appearing in court via video link.

Manchester Minshull Street Crown Court heard Brown, of Wood Road, Whally Range, had a ‘tendency to be very violent’ when in midst of a psychotic episode. In July 2021 he fractured a ‘complete stranger’s’ skull by hitting them over the head with a sock filled with rocks outside a covid testing centre in Hulme and was later sentenced to three years and four months in prison, the court heard.

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Neil Fryman, prosecuting, said on July 26 last year Brown was carrying a blue handled craft knife when a crash between a moped and a Seat car took place around 100 yards from his home in Whalley Range. Seeing police sergeants Tim Ansell and Mark Foster stood in full uniform on the pavement close to the scene of the crash, Brown, wearing all black clothing with a hood tightly tied around his face, ‘took them by surprise’ and launched a ‘ferocious’ attack.

He first stabbed Sgt Foster to the neck and jaw. After the officer managed to escape with relatively minor injuries, Brown turned his attentions to Sgt Ansell.

Mr Fryman said: “He deliberately aimed for the head and neck, but this time he badly injured him and the officer required surgery.” It was only by ‘good fortune’ that the blade missed the major arteries, otherwise the injuries could have been ‘catastrophic’, added Mr Fryman.

A third officer Pc Wolstencroft tasered Brown and he was arrested at the scene. Sgt Ansell later required surgery for a wound to his neck.

Then, on August 10, last year, while on remand at HMP Liverpool Brown launched an attack on a prison advisor during an induction session in a classroom. Using a pen he repeatedly stabbed Peter McCann in the head and neck, wounding his ear.

Sergeants Ansell and Foster and Pc Wolstencroft are presented with bravery awards by Chief Constable Stephen Watson -Credit:GMP
Sergeants Ansell and Foster and Pc Wolstencroft are presented with bravery awards by Chief Constable Stephen Watson -Credit:GMP

And on September 1 while appearing via video link from prison, Brown used the modified piece of prison cutlery to stab prison guard David Nevin in front of a shocked court room at Manchester Crown Square. Video footage of the incident was not available, but in an audio recording of the attack Mr Nevin can be heard to say ‘He’s stabbed me’.

Mr Fryman said the attacks had had a ‘profound and lasting impact’ on each victim. Consultant forensic psychiatrist Dr John Crosby, who has been treating Brown at Ashworth secure hospital, told the court the defedant suffered from paranoid schizophrenia but was responding well to treatment.

He said: “My opinion is that Jacob Brown’s offences were committed due to him being mentally ill. Since he has been stable there have been no further incidents of violence.

“The safest way of managing the risk that Jacob Brown poses to others is for that to be managed by mental health professionals.”

Brown had earlier pleaded guilty to one count of attempted murder for the attack on Sgt Ansell and three counts of wounding with intent. Judge Bernadette Baxter sentenced him to an indefinite hospital order and a restriction order until he is deemed safe to be released, saying that would be the most effective way of managing the risk he posed to the public and himself.

She said: “Had I been sentencing you for these matters it would have been a very long sentence indeed. I have no hesitation in saying that you are a very dangerous young man when you are psychotic and suffering symptoms of your mental illnesses.”

All three police officers involved in the July 26 attack were presented with bravery awards at the Chief Constable’s Annual Awards in October 2023. Earlier this month they were also given the John Egerton Bravery Award by GMP’s Police Federation.

Det Insp Kelly, who led the GMP investigation said: “There appeared to be no clear motive for these attacks – officers were taken completely by surprise and only their quick reactions stopped the outcome from being fatal. The prospect of violence towards police officers is a daily threat and won’t be tolerated.

“I am glad that our swift and thorough investigation has resulted in Brown being held to account for what he has done, and he is now away from the communities within Greater Manchester.”

Chief Supt Colette Rose, District Commander for Trafford, where the officers involved are based, said: “This display of violence against officers going about their duties is heinous and unspeakable. No officer should expect to be assaulted at work, particularly not in such a brutal way, and it is very fortunate that PS Ansell’s injuries were survivable in this case.

“Whilst physical injuries may heal, the mental impact of assaults of this nature on officers can be long lasting. I hope this case shows the seriousness of which we take incidents like this affecting our officers. It won’t be tolerated.”