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Cop’s sword terror

PUBLISHED: 17:48 16 July 2008 | UPDATED: 09:57 23 August 2010

Part of footage from an officer's head cam captures the aftermath of a savage attack

Part of footage from an officer's head cam captures the aftermath of a savage attack

AS the living room door was swinging open he was standing right behind and had the sword in his hand. Straight away he was sort of stabbing it towards my face. I was trying to parry it with my left hand and shouting at him drop the sword . These ar

Pc John Clarke with sword

AS the living room door was swinging open he was standing right behind and had the sword in his hand. Straight away he was sort of stabbing it towards my face.

"I was trying to parry it with my left hand and shouting at him 'drop the sword'."

These are the first instinctive actions of brave PC John Clarke who seconds later was slashed on the head by a Samurai sword wielding thug.

The officer, who is scarred for life, spoke about the hideous attack after Richard Skeates, 45, of St Hilda's Way, Gravesend, was jailed at Maidstone Crown Court last Thursday.

Richard Skeates, 45, from Gravesend was jailed last Thursday at Maidstone Crown Court

He was attacked after forcing his way in to the property to arrest Skeates for breaching an ASBO on October 20 last year after pleading with him for over 20 minutes to open the door.

After the attack his treatment was recorded on a police headcam and remarkably he returned to work the following day, having luckily suffered a three-inch cut.

PC Clarke said: "While I was shouting I got my parva spray out and gave him a blast in his eyes. Unfortunately it didn't have any effect. Then he brought the sword up and crashed it down on my head.

"Looking back I don't regret joining the force for a single day."

Despite having a large gash on his head PC Clarke managed to push Skeates back into the room where he was arrested by his colleagues. It was only when blood gushed into his eyes blocking his vision that he realised he had been badly injured. He needed eight stitches and the attack has left him with a large scar on his forehead.

Earlier this month he was named North Kent Police Outstanding Performer of the Year for his bravery and hard work.

Skeates was given an indeterminate sentence with a recommendation he serve a minimum of five-and-a-half years for wounding with intent to cause GBH.

The court heard he was a recluse who suffered from paranoid personality disorders and that his mental state had deteriorated after his mother's death in November 2005.

Sentencing Judge Michael Lawson QC said: "I am satisfied that when Mr Skeates brought the sword down he intended to cause significant bodily harm.

"I am satisfied that he does pose a serious risk of causing harm to others should he be placed in a situation where he is challenged.

"I can't take the risk that there may be incidents such as this again."

After the arrest officers seized a collection of martial arts weapons including nunchaku, throwing stars, sai swords, tonfa batons, and flick knives from Mr Skeates' home.

The incident was one of the first in Kent where footage filmed using a police head camera was used as evidence. The jury where shown a video clip of PC Clarke being treated in an ambulance minutes after the attack.

jason.goodyer@archant.co.uk

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