Man scarred police officers for life in meat cleaver attack

David Dowson targeted PCs Josh McCorry and Glenn Coletta in Wishaw last year.

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A man left two police officers scarred for life after targeting them in a meat cleaver attack.

David Dowson turned on PCs Josh McCorry and Glenn Coletta in Wishaw, North Lanarkshire last June 14.

A judge heard how both constables have been left badly traumatised after the 26 year-old launched his attack.

Dowson was later heard boasting in the street: “Aye, I chopped your cops with a cleaver.”

Dowson appeared via video link for a hearing at the High Court in Glasgow.

He pled guilty to attempting to murder PC McCorry, who lost part of his thumb during the attack.

He also admitted assaulting PC Coletta to his severe injury, permanent disfigurement and to the danger of his life.

Dowson – who already had a history of violence – was remanded pending sentencing next month.

The court heard how the officers tuned up at Greenfield Drive, Wishaw, to escort a ten-year-old boy back home.

Dowson suddenly appeared and claimed he would take the child.

He then stated: “I’ll put holes in both of you.”

Dowson was warned about his conduct before PC Coletta went with him to a block of flats nearby where he lived.

Dowson grabbed the constable and pulled out the meat cleaver.

Prosecutor Margaret Barron said: “He raised it above his head before striking down with full force towards PC Coletta’s face.”

The officer managed to break free before PC McCorry raced into the close.

Dowson then pounced on PC McCorry by repeatedly punching and kicking him.

Both constables hit Dowson with their batons, but he continued to lash out.

The thug went into his home before returning with the cleaver.

Miss Barron: “He used it full force to bring the weapon down onto PC McCorry’s head causing him to fall into a wall and then onto the ground.”

PC McCorry bravely tried to defend himself, but was struck again.

The advocate depute: “Both PCs describe being terrified and being in fear of their lives during this sustained attack.”

PC McCorry got away via a close door while his colleague made a six-foot jump out of a window.

Other officers soon arrived on the scene and Dowson was ordered to get on the ground after he left his home.

Dowson later insisted to police he had never “attempted to murder anyone in his life” and claimed he was acting in “self defence”.

The court heard the tip of PC McCorry’s right thumb was sliced off and he also suffered a head wound.

The hand injury continues to affect his job.

Reliving the horror in an emotional statement, he said: “I actually just feel lucky to be alive. I thought I was going to die.”

PC Coletta suffered severed tendons and a fractured in his right hand. He is scarred for life.

He recalled: “Thinking back it is just sickening. It actually keeps me awake at night thinking of what happened. I am (also) lucky to be alive.”

Tony Graham QC, defending, also paid tribute to the officers.

He told the court: “It is a credit to both that they returned to active service after what would have been a terrifying incident.”

Sentencing was adjourned for reports.

Chief Superintendent Alan Waddell, Lanarkshire Divisional Commander, said: “We welcome the conviction today of David Dowson at the High Court in Glasgow, and I would like to commend the bravery and professionalism of the officers involved.

“This was a vicious and unprovoked attack. Not only were these two officers doing their job, they were actually helping a ten-year-old boy at the time. Any violence towards our officers is outrageous and disgraceful and will not be tolerated.

“Over a number of years there has been an increasing number of reports of assaults on officer and staff. This can cause physical and psychological harm to those who are dedicated public servants and coming under attack should not be part of the job.

“The Chief Constable Iain Livingstone has made it clear that violence against officers and staff is utterly unacceptable and should never be seen as simply part of the job. He has promised to provide appropriate support to all colleagues where it does occur.”

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