'Dangerous' man high on drink and drugs got Pc in bear bug and tried to jump off A1 bridge
A 6ft 3in police officer struggled for his life when he tackled a man high on drink and drugs who got him in a bear hug and wanted to tip them both off a bridge over the A1, a court heard.
Cocaine addict Michael Walker, 28, from Cornhill, West Denton, Newcastle, was jailed for five years today after he pleaded guilty to attempting to cause grievous bodily harm with intent.
A charge of attempted murder was dropped at a previous hearing.
Newcastle Crown Court heard Walker had punched a vulnerable female neighbour in the face and ran off when police arrived at about 6.30am on November 12.
When Pc Richard Wilkinson confronted him on the footbridge 14m above the ground, Walker, who had been drinking wine and vodka, grabbed and pinned him.
Mark Guiliani, prosecuting, told the court how Walker then tried to tip them both over the railings onto the embankment below.
He said: "The defendant was shouting, so much so his face was contorted with rage."
Walker shouted "Come on, we are both ******* going over", Mr Guiliani said.
He leaned back over the railings, lifting the officer off the ground, making himself go red in the face with the effort.
Mr Guiliani said: "Pc Wilkinson was very afraid and in fear of his life."
The officer managed to force the drunk defendant back onto the ground and radioed for assistance, but as he tried to handcuff Walker, the suspect grabbed and squeezed his windpipe.
During the struggle the handcuffs were lost, but Pc Wilkinson managed to call again for back up and three more officers arrived to help.
They eventually carried Walker off the bridge, but only after he had kicked Pc Stacey Elhala.
When he sobered up at the police station, Walker said he had no recollection of attacking his neighbour or the incident on the bridge.
He had banged on the 51-year-old's door in the middle of the night demanding toast and punched her in the face when she slapped him in her attempt to get him to leave.
Robert Woodcock QC, defending, said Pc Wilkinson must have been "terrified", but it was only for a brief period. He said his client has now confronted his problem drinking.
Judge Paul Sloan QC sentenced Walker to five years for the attempted GBH with intent, assaulting the neighbour and attacking the other officer.
He said: "I accept you are now genuinely ashamed of your conduct that night."
Acting Chief Superintendent David Felton said: "Walker is a dangerous man and what he did that day could have endangered his own life and that of our police officer.
"It eventually took a number of officers to restrain Walker, just showing how powerful and dangerous he was and what an incredible job the Pc who responded did.
"The officer dealt with the situation superbly. He was calm and did exactly what was needed to ensure the situation was brought to a safe resolution. His actions undoubtedly saved both of their lives.
"This type of situation is faced by many of our officers every day and exemplifies how dangerous and difficult the job of a police officer can be."