Car thief jailed after driving into policeman

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A MAN who crushed a police officer’s ribs by deliberately driving a stolen taxi into him has been jailed for seven years and three months.

Dale Whiteside’s violent outburst happened when a cab driver refused to take him and a pal home after New Year’s Eve celebrations.

He and 29-year-old Ashley Barber punched the driver in the head, threatened him with more violence and forced him out of the cab on to the ground.

The pair, together with two unknown men, then drove off in the VW Passat while the victim called the police.

Searching officers spotted the taxi in Fullers Slade just after 3am and followed it to nearby Hodge Lea.

When they saw 31-year-old Whiteside stop to let out the two unknown men officers pulled up behind, poised for arrest.

But as roads policing officer PC Steve Leathersich pulled open the driver’s door, the taxi – wedged in by redway bollards at the front – reversed at speed

The constable was forced backwards and crushed against his own unmarked police car.

While the PC struggled to escape, Whiteside shot into reverse again, dragging the officer on to the bonnet of the police car before he fell to the ground.

PC Leathersich was treated at Milton Keynes Hospital for four broken ribs and severe grazes.

The injuries meant he was unable to work for almost three months and was only capable of restricted duties when he finally returned. Amersham Crown Court heard on Wednesday.

After the attack, police and sniffer dogs searched the area for the culprits. Barber was arrested by a police dog handler within half an hour while Whiteside was seized the following evening.

Both pleaded guilty in court.

Whiteside, of Pinders Croft Greenleys, admitted causing grievous bodily harm with intent, aggravated vehicle taking and blackmail. He was jailed for seven years and three months for GBH with intent, nine months for the aggravated vehicle taking and 21 months for blackmail. The sentences will all run concurrently.

Barber, of Carron Court, Bletchley, was in the passenger seat of the stolen cab. He admitted charges of aggravated vehicle taking and blackmail. He was sentenced to 21 months’ jail for blackmail and nine months for aggravated vehicle taking.

Thames Valley Police has released a You Tube video featuring footage of the incident in which PC Steve Leathersich was injured. To view the video visit: TVP’s Youtube page