Thugs who could have killed a female officer who was fly-kicked into the path of a moving bus have been jailed for more than five years.
Footage of Kersan Euell, 20, and Martin Payne, 19, launching a violent assault on two officers in Merton, south west London, shortly before 8pm on November 17, went viral last year.
The CCTV showed how they battered the uniformed officers with Euell kicking PC Lorraine McGinty in the back of the head and fracturing one of PC John Collins ribs after they pulled over a BMW in a routine check.
Euell claimed he was acting in self defence as the brave officers had ‘exceeded their authority’ in trying to detain his friend.
Both men initially denied the assault, while Euell denied even being there, claiming he was at his grandmother’s birthday party.
Footage from PC McGinty’s body worn camera was shown at Kingston Crown Court.
After the officer was fly-kicked she lay moaning on the ground unable to get up for a minute.
In her victim impact statement she said she thought her colleague might be being stabbed.
PC Collins suffered a fractured rib while he tried to detain Payne, which led to three hospital visits and a chest infection.
Kursan Euell, left, and Martin Payne, right, have admitted ABH against two police officers after assaulting them in Wimbledon last month when they pulled over their BMW on a routine stop
The officer was kicked into the path of a moving bus. She holds her head as the vehicle comes close to her body
The moment the officer was kicked in the head was caught on CCTV and went viral, last year
The driver Payne, of New Malden, south west London, admitted ABH against PC Collins as well as driving without insurance and a licence during the incident.
He was jailed for two years and nine months while Euell was jailed for three years and six months.
Euell, of Catford, south east London, pleaded guilty to two counts of assault occasioning actual bodily harm (ABH).
The female officer, who is a mother, did not return to work for more than a month after being attacked by Euell and says she is now considering early retirement.
Prosecutor Stephen Apted told Kingston Crown Court: ‘At about 7.50pm in the evening PC Collins and PC McGinty were carrying out a routine stop on a BMW motor vehicle in the Merton Area.
‘There has been no insurance for that motor vehicle.
‘It contained three people, Mr Payne was the driver, Mr Euell was a rear seat passenger. The third person has not yet been identified.
‘Mr Payne got out of the vehicle while speaking with PC McGinty who had turned on her body worn camera.
‘Mr Payne was vague and failed to give his name to PC McGinty.
‘Mr Payne then tried suddenly to run off, he was immediately restrained by PC Collins and a violent struggle ensued.
‘During the course of this struggle the offficer was punched and kicked by Mr Payne while PC McGinty tried to deploy CS spray.
‘As PC McGinty tried to help her colleague one of the men can be heard saying ‘get off, I will shank you’.’
A man in a crash helmet ran over to the scene to help the officers as two of their attackers ran away in Merton, London
Mr Apted said: ‘Mr Payne shouted ‘don’t leave me’.
‘Mr Euell returned and performed a fly-kick on PC McGinty, kicking her to the ground, she narrowly misses a passing bus and wounded her head.’
Euell and the other man ran off.
Mr Apted said: ‘PC McGinty was able to struggle to her feet and with the assistance of passing members of the public she was able to overpower Mr Payne.’
Payne was arrested at the scene and Euell was arrested three days later hiding under the bed at his girlfriend’s house.
Mr Apted read out part of PC Collins’ victim statement in court: ‘Due to the injuries I sustained I struggled to sleep for two weeks.
‘I struggled with day to day activities for seven weeks.
‘This prevented me from taking part in activities in the lead up to a wedding and over Christmas.
‘During this time I have had to attend hospital three different hospitals relating to internal injuries.’
He said he runs marathons and will not longer be able to do so this year, adding: ‘They have ruined my race plans for 2019 and the money spent and the hours and hours of training.’
He asked: ‘What would have happened if they had a knife instead of just threatening to stab me.’
PC Collins said, however, that the incident would not ‘cloud his judgment’ while interacting with people in the future.
Judge’s questions over why the men were charged with ABH
Judge Sarah Plaschkes QC raised concerns over why the Crown Prosecution Service had not charged the pair with more serious assault charges before adjourning the case for reports to be made on the pair.
She said the ABH charges carried a maximum of five years in prison and added: ‘The court is concerned if these counts reflect the full criminality of this offence.
‘These offences were committed on the street at night in the presence of members of the public.
‘I’m not giving any indication one way or another as to the court’s eventual sentence.
‘I’ve indicated already my concern. As I say it’s a matter for the Crown.’
A charge of assault occasioning actual bodily harm (ABH) carries a maximum sentence of five years in prison.
The offence will fall within three categories – category one being the most serious, and three being the least.
Sentencing guidelines for the least serious offence recommend a ‘Band A fine’ to a ‘high level community order’.
For the more serious charge of causing grievous bodily harm (GBH) with intent, the maximum sentence is life imprisonment, but judicial guidelines recommend a jail term ranging between three and 16 years.
Time will be taken off the sentences for guilty please. An admission at the earliest possible opportunity will mean a reduction of one third, and an admission on the day of trial will result in a ten per cent reduction.
Mitigating and aggravating factors will also be taken into account.
He said: ‘After it I thought maybe I should have just let them go.
‘But I will carry on doing my job and won’t let it cloud my judgement in how I interact with people in the future.’
Mr Apted also read a victim statement from PC McGinty, who said she was considering early retirement because of the assault.
He read: ‘In the following days I had a severe headache, I was unsteady on my feet and I kept throwing up.
‘My memory was not reliable.
‘My daughter who is in her third year of university had to look after me because I couldn’t be left on my own.
‘I have returned to work but I am still not fully healed. I have been seen a chiropractor for my back and treatment for this is still ongoing.
‘This incident has shocked me to the core. I have suffered many sleepless nights wondering whether I did enough to help my colleague.
‘My daughter is begging me to retire, she is worried every time I leave for work… she said seeing that video will haunt her forever.
‘I had no idea how close I had come to to being killed or seriously injured having been kicked under a bus until I saw it on the news.
‘I might well take early retirement, which saddens me deeply.’
She added: ‘I have a lasting image of watching my colleague being assaulted while someone threatened to shank him and not knowing if he was being stabbed.’
After the pair pleaded guilty in December, Judge Sarah Plaschkes QC raised concerns over why the Crown Prosecution Service had not brought more serious assault charges against them.
She said ABH carries maximum sentence of five years, adding that both defendants have a long criminal history including assaulting police officers, robbery and of violence.
Members of the public ran over to help the officers who were being brutally attacked during a routine stop
Barrister Brian Kennedy, acting on behalf of both the defendants at Kingston Crown Court, said the incident ‘snowballed’.
He said: ‘This incident snowballed in both the defendants’ cases.
‘It started with a summary incident which got out of hand.
‘On behalf of Mr Euell in particular, he wishes to be taken into account the psychological report in relation to persons of authority and his behaviour to them.’
In Euell’s pre-sentence report, it was said he was ‘acting in self-defence’ because the police officers were ‘abusing their authority’.
He claimed he stepped in in the ‘heat of the moment’ to protect his friend.
Judge Plaschkes said: ‘It says he went to intervene in the heat of the moment in defence of his friend.
‘He became involved to defend Mr Payne and that the officers were abusing their authority.’
Mr Apted denied that was a possibility.
He said: ‘The Crown submits that the police officers were acting lawfully in trying to detain Mr Payne and there’s no basis on which the defendants could say that they were acting in self-defence.’