Norwich police officer describes horrific Prince of Wales Road attack
12:05 07 July 2014
Archant Norfolk 2014
On Friday Mohammed Labead was sentenced to 28 months in a young offenders’ institution after he admitted a violent attack in Norwich which left PC Lee Wilson with a broken leg and unable to climb the stairs to comfort his five-year-old son following nightmares about the bad man hurting daddy.
Today, following the sentencing, PC Wilson talks about his memories of that night and how it has impacted on him and his family as PETER WALSH reports.
PC Lee Wilson has served with Norfolk police for 23 years but has never experienced anything like the level of violence he was subjected to after being called to Prince of Wales Road in January.
He said: “Working as a police officer in Norwich for 13 years, I’m no stranger to public order shifts and this one had been no different up until that point.
“It was a typical Saturday night, I was the van driver and crewed with the Sergeant. I was aware some of our team were dealing with an incident outside Mojo’s. The Sgt was flagged down by two women, they were talking to her and I was keeping watch on the crowds.
“This chap was pointed out to us, the Sgt went to speak with him and I followed. I just knew from his body language through my experience and training that he was going to kick-off.
“The moment she took hold of his arm it was like a switch being flicked – he went berserk. I grabbed his arm, we both had hold of him but he had so much strength. In my head I remember thinking ‘I need to let go, I need to get to my baton and Parva’, but I knew if I let go he could hurt someone.
“I’d tried a number of tactics in order to detain him and was attempting to get him into an arm lock. The next thing I remember is hearing my helmet hit the floor. I could feel my head pressed up against something and I realised I was on the floor. My leg was absolutely killing and I couldn’t move it.
“The pain was so bad I wanted to scream. It had happened within seconds, I was slipping in and out of consciousness and didn’t know where I was but I knew I was hurt. It was a panicked situation but it happened within seconds. I had pain in my back and neck and remember seeing a colleague come to my aid.
“My tibia had broken – it was a vertical break which I’m told is really unusual. I went into hospital early hours on the Sunday morning and my leg was operated on later that day. The doctors said I was lucky the leg was operated quickly as it will improve my chances of a full recovery.
“The organisation has been brilliant, I’ve had a lot of support from colleagues, senior commanders and the Chief Constable.
“I wore a leg brace for about six weeks and used crutches for a while longer. By the end of March I was walking with a stick. I then spent 12 days at Flint House (a police charity for which I pay a month subscription) for intense physiotherapy and rehabilitation which really helped in my recovery.
“The worst thing throughout the whole experience was the impact on my family. I was sleeping in the lounge as I couldn’t get up the stairs and my son was having nightmares….he knows daddy is a police officer but had been frightened by what had happened to me. One night I could hear him crying in his room and I couldn’t go and comfort him. That was horrible.
“I’ve been involved in policing for 23 years, first serving in the RAF and I’ve now been in Norwich for 13. I’ve had bruises and cracked ribs before but nothing like this. It was completely uncalled for and there’s no justification for that level of violence.
“Police are there to protect people who genuinely want to go out for the night and enjoy themselves and the majority do. There is a minority who seem to be intent on causing problems and there has been a noticeable decline in some people’s attitude towards police. Nothing appears to be off-limits from verbal abuse to being spat at and assaulted. This type of behaviour is dealt with robustly but there shouldn’t be a need for it.”