An armed robber who was in a getaway car which ran over a police officer, leaving him disabled, has been jailed for 19 years.
Christopher Jones, 22, was sentenced at Preston Crown Court today after he was found guilty of taking part in a spate of armed cash-in-transit and bank robberies across the North West in 2009.
Jones, of Hale Road, Speke, Liverpool, was also charged with the attempted murder of Greater Manchester Police officer Gary Marshall at Partington Leisure Centre on October 19, 2009.
He was found guilty of causing grievous bodily harm with intent to resist arrest on the basis of joint enterprise after being identified as the passenger of a car used by a gang of raiders to run over Pc Marshall.
Jones appeared alongside Christopher Shaw, 29, of Cambridge Avenue, Crosby, and Raymond Mallen, 27, of Bakers Green Road, Huyton, charged with conspiracy to rob in a trial which lasted five and a half weeks.
Shaw was found not guilty of conspiracy to rob and the jury was unable to reach a verdict on Mallen, who will face a retrial early next year.
The three defendants were arrested and charged in 2010, following an extensive investigation into Merseyside-based organised crime groups by detectives from the North West Regional Organised Crime Unit (Titan).
Between June and November 2009, there was a spate of organised and "ruthless" cash-in-transit robberies across the North West of England.
Each of the robberies had a number of common features - at least one car, often a high-performance vehicle capable of being driven at speed, would be stolen in a domestic burglary and modified to use later as getaway cars.
Often the gang would be armed with an industrial rotary Stihl saw, which would be used either to get into the security vans or as a form of intimidation.
On one occasion the security guard was stabbed three times in his legs with a knife during an attempted robbery at Booths Supermarket in Longton.
On October 19, the gang struck at Partington Leisure Centre in Manchester.
After failing to saw open a security van, the gang were disturbed by Pc Marshall.
After ramming his police van, the gang deliberately ran over him, leaving him critically injured.
In a statement, Pc Marshall said his life had "changed dramatically" in terms of his health and general well-being due to the "constant pain and discomfort" in his injured limbs.
He suffers from lack of sleep and has become irritable and depressed.
He said: "I regularly have flashbacks and nightmares. I sometimes struggle to concentrate on the most simple things, as I find my mind wanders back to the incident.
"What has happened to me has changed me from a laid-back, happy- go-lucky person into an irritable, short-tempered man with almost everyone.
"Since the incident, I have endured almost constant pain and discomfort, especially in my left ankle and right knee and I now need almost permanent daily pain relief."
Pc Marshall said he was unable to do "most things a dad would do with his son", for example, playing football, cycling, running and jogging.
He said he had been medically assessed as being 45% disabled.
"My mind and body have been scarred for life as a direct result of this incident," he said.
"I thank God every day that I survived this traumatic incident, but I would love to have my old life back.
"I was simply doing my job, protecting the people of the community in which I served when this happened.
"My life has changed completely and I would not wish what has happened to anyone."
Head of the North West Regional Organised Crime Unit, Detective Chief Superintendent Paul Richardson, said: "Jones was an integral part of an organised crime group who carried out these crimes with little or no regard for the safety of others and left a police officer critically injured as they fled the scene of a failed cash-in-transit robbery."
Detective Chief Inspector Jen Williams, from Greater Manchester Police, added: "Christopher Jones in particular was responsible for an audacious attack on a cash-in-transit vehicle in broad daylight that left one of our officers very seriously injured.
"Jones showed no regard for the public of Partington, Pc Marshall or the police generally."