Officer attacked after saving man

HE was trying to save an “extremely drunk” man from a potentially fatal situation.

HE was trying to save an “extremely drunk” man from a potentially fatal situation.

But instead Pc Pete Gill was attacked by the man's brother - who was so intoxicated he admitted he was “leathered”.

Today Pc Gill, of Suffolk police, has spoken out over the dangers of irresponsible drinking after Christopher Crabtree punched him in the face during a river rescue in Ipswich.

He and three other officers had been called to the banks of the River Gipping, where they found Crabtree in a desperate struggle to help his 27-year-old brother, who has a mental age of seven, out of the water.

The pair had been drinking heavily and had fallen into the river at around 1.20am on December 9.

Crabtree, of Newnham Court, Ipswich, was incensed because he thought the officers had taken 45 minutes to arrive when in fact they were on the scene in around seven minutes.

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The 25-year-old had also been antagonised by onlookers who thought the whole episode was funny.

Crabtree tussled with the officers on the muddy riverbank and landed a fist onto Pc Gill's glasses, smashing them into his face.

Pc Gill, who previously served in the RAF in The Falklands and Bosnia war zones, was left with swelling and an imprint of the arm of his glasses on his head.

Pc Gill, 48, said: “Crabtree wouldn't let us do our job which was to save the man in the river.

“If either one of them had been on their own, we may have been dealing with a body. If people go out we expect them to act in a responsible manner.”

Crabtree, who also had a pocket knife on him, was ordered to pay Pc Gill �75 in compensation when he was sentenced at South East Suffolk Magistrates' Court on Tuesday.

Joan Overett, chairman of the magistrates, said: “These officers were trying to do their duty and didn't deserve to be treated the way they were.”

She ordered Crabtree to carry out 150 hours unpaid work while under the supervision of the probation service for 18 months.

He must also pay �50 court costs after admitting to assaulting a police officer and possessing a knife.

Do police officers get enough respect? Write to Your Letters, The Evening Star, 30 Lower Brook Street, Ipswich, IP4 1AN or send us an e-mail to eveningstarletters@eveningstar.co.uk.

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