Search

Woman recalls being bitten by police dog as officer goes on trial

PUBLISHED: 18:05 22 July 2020 | UPDATED: 16:56 31 July 2020

The offence is alleged to have happened in Springfield Hall Park, also known as Arun Park, last February  Picture: GOOGLE

The offence is alleged to have happened in Springfield Hall Park, also known as Arun Park, last February Picture: GOOGLE

Google

A police officer has gone on trial accused of being in charge of a dangerously out of control dog after his German shepherd bit a woman in a park.

Police dog handler Paul Sheldrake appeared at Ipswich Crown Court on Wednesday.

The Essex officer is accused of being in charge of a dangerously out of control dog, which injured Marianne McRae, and that the dog was not being used for a lawful purpose by a police constable.

The incident happened at about 5.30pm on February 11 last year in Arun Park, Chelmsford, where Ms McRae was walking her miniature Yorkshire terrier off the lead.

Ms McRae told a jury that off-duty Sheldrake’s German shepherd police dog, Cain, appeared from a wooded area and ran towards her, lunging onto her right side and biting her hip releasing its grip when Sheldrake ran shouting towards the scene.

Ms McRae was treated at Broomfield Hospital and remained off work for two weeks, while Sheldrake later submitted an official dog bite report with his account of the incident.

Prosecutor Mark Halsey said the law provided an exemption where dogs are used for a lawful purpose by a constable, such as a policing activity.

But, Mr Halsey added: “It’s not like this was an operational deployment, where there might be an operational bite, and where the dog is trained to chase after a suspect.

“A person responsible for a dog on deployment is exempt from liability, but the Crown says the exemption doesn’t apply.”

Dog unit inspector Brad Dickel’s own report expressed concern that Sheldrake had not taken account of a recent circular highlighting the importance of officers ensuring the safe exercising of police dogs.

His report described the incident as “very avoidable” and contrary to his expectations as a line manager.

When questioned by defence barrister Jamas Hodivala, Insp Dickel acknowledged that officers were required to conduct continued training of dogs outside formal sessions, including obedience exercises such as ‘long down stays’ off the lead.

He said the training was a requirement of national guidelines, but that he would expect officers to perform a dynamic risk assessment.

The trial continues.


If you value what this story gives you, please consider supporting the East Anglian Daily Times. Click the link in the orange box above for details.

Become a supporter

This newspaper has been a central part of community life for many years. Our industry faces testing times, which is why we're asking for your support. Every contribution will help us continue to produce local journalism that makes a measurable difference to our community.

Comments have been disabled on this article.

Latest from the East Anglian Daily Times