Pitbull attacked raid police as passers-by filmed on their phones

 

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The Independent Online

Police officers, some of them wounded, fled screaming after a pitbull attacked them during a house raid - while locals stood and filmed the scene on their mobile phones, a court heard today.

One police officer broke down in tears as he told the jury at Inner London Crown Court how the dog attacked his colleague as they tried to subdue it and seemed not to notice them hitting it with their batons.

Members of the public who heard the four injured officers' screams came to the scene and stood there filming as they sought refuge on walls and inside a police van, another officer said.

Symieon Robinson-Pierre, 25, who is standing trial accused of four offences under the Dangerous Dogs Act, made no attempt to call his animal off the officers, the court heard.

It took five officers to partially subdue the animal but it was shot dead around 20 minutes later by armed police.

The court heard that Robinson-Pierre told police: "It's not the dog's fault, you could have knocked, I'd have let you in," when he was arrested a short time later at the house in Albert Square, Newham, east London on March 22 this year.

Detective Constable Tom Boow, who was behind three uniformed Pcs - Mark Merritt, Martin Corderoy and Lee Bush - as they forced their way into the house, told the court that almost as soon as they broke down the door they started coming backward.

"I heard Martin Corderoy scream, it was the sort of scream you make when something bad has happened," he said.

"Then I saw a dog clamped on to his leg.

"Martin was screaming. Mark Merritt raised his asp (baton) and put it between the dog's jaws to release the bite on Martin's leg.

"I would estimate it took 20-30 seconds to get it off.

"It then jumped up and bit on to Mark's forearm.

"The dog was literally hanging off his arm and he was trying to swing his arm around in the hope that the dog would get off him."

He said the dog then bit Pc Bush.

"By this time, because there was so much noise because we were all shouting, the bit officers were screaming in pain and members of the public were coming out to see what was going on," he said.

"I remember ... people were filming it on their iPhones and things like that were happening."

As the officers tried to evade the dog on high ground, other officers arrived at the scene.

Pc Duncan West said he arrived and using a 5ft riot shield tried to restrain the dog with colleague Pc Steve Bones.

Fighting back tears, he said: "Pc Bones, in an act of selfless bravery, grabbed the dog by the back of the neck.

"It then bit him on the left hand.

"Initially I thought he had lost one of his fingers."

He said he put his full 16-stone weight on the shield to pin the dog down while other officers hit it with batons and helped hold it down.

They managed to get a dog pole with a noose on to it but were still struggling to control it when an armed response unit arrived and shot it, he said.

The jury of seven men and five women were shown a video of the scene taken by police, showing bloodstains on the pavement and on a car where one officer sought refuge on the roof.

Craig Harris, defending Robinson-Pierre, accused Dc Boow of giving the wrong evidence about where the dog attack on Pc Bush took place, to move it from inside the front garden of the house to the street to make it seem worse than it was.

"You are exacerbating the case against the defendant if not lying," he said, something the detective flatly denied.

Robinson-Pierre denies all four charges.

In total, five officers were injured by the dog, with Pc Paul Garrard suffering wounds to his leg.

This afternoon, the jury was shown mobile phone video footage of the incident recorded by a man living nearby.

The footage showed a brown dog attacking policemen who were standing on the pavement and on walls, who in turn were trying to hit it with batons.

The officers could be heard repeatedly screaming and swearing as they attempted to fend off the animal.

David Tate, who gave evidence from behind a screen, started filming it after hearing screams and going outside.

"It was just the most bizarre situation I had ever witnessed in my life. I just grabbed my phone and away I went," Mr Tate said, adding that the dog was "all over them".

He said he saw the dog attack several police officers, adding: "It was one of the most horrific things I have heard in my life.

"To hear people screaming like that was very distressing."

The trial continues tomorrow.

PA