Armed robber who attacked police officer during Tesco raid jailed for 14 years

An armed robber who dragged a police officer out of a patrol car and threw her to the ground while ransacking a Tesco Express has been jailed for 14 years.

Owen Smith was handed the sentence at Hove Crown Court on Tuesday, Sussex Police said.

The unemployed 29-year-old, of no fixed address, previously admitted assault by beating a police constable, possession of a baseball bat as an offensive weapon, robbery and taking a police vehicle without consent, the force said.

A staff member managed to escape at around 12.30am on July 6 and called police reporting two men in balaclavas armed with weapons stealing cash, cigarettes and alcohol from the shop at the Esso garage in Redkiln Way, Horsham.

While officers were assessing the scene, a police car on routine patrol coincidentally pulled on to the garage forecourt and discovered the crime in progress.

The officers called for back-up and tried to get other members of the public to stay away but Smith saw them arrive.

CCTV shows him running at them, dragging Pc Ellie Young out of the car as she tried to fight back, and throwing her to the ground as he climbed into the drivers' seat.

Owen Smith mugshot
Owen Smith mugshot

She was left with arm, leg, shoulder and neck injuries but continued to try to tackle Smith with colleague Pc Vicky Canales.

A member of the public tried to help before back-up arrived a few seconds later and Smith was Tasered and arrested.

Detective Chief Inspector Justina Beeken said: "Watching the CCTV of Owen Smith attacking our officers is absolutely harrowing, not least due to the ferocity of the attack, and I commend the officers' bravery and commitment that evening in arresting him.

"No officer should be attacked while doing their job and I am thankful that no officers were more seriously hurt."

She also commended the members of the public who tried to help "without a moment's thought for their own safety" and Tesco staff members who were threatened at work.

Police are still hunting for Smith's accomplice.