South Yorkshire police officer nominated for bravery award after horrific attack

Sgt Richard Pettican's injuries after he was attacked in Doncaster
Sgt Richard Pettican's injuries after he was attacked in Doncaster

A South Yorkshire police officer attacked when his own handcuffs were used as a knuckle duster against him has been nominated for a bravery award.

Sergeant Richard Pettican was initially thought to have suffered life threatening injuries in the horrific attack in Doncaster in September last year.

Dale Cheetham attacked Sgt Richard Pettican

Dale Cheetham attacked Sgt Richard Pettican

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He was left covered in blood after suffering deep cuts to his scalp when he was repeatedly struck across his head.

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Sgt Pettican has been nominated for a prestigious Police Federation Bravery Award, which honours those who risk their lives to save or protect others and in the fight against crime.

Police officers who confronted terrorists during the attacks at Westminster and London Bridge last year have also been nominated for bravery awards.

The nominees will be invited to an event at Downing Street before the winners are announced at a ceremony in central London on July 12.

Dale Francis Cheetham, of no fixed abode, was jailed for 14-and-a-half years in April after admitting the attack on Sgt Pettican and a range of other crimes.

On the morning of the attack, Cheetham stole a Fiat Punto from Bolton-on-Dearne with fellow defendant Peter White, 25, also known as Peter Manning.

The theft, during which the driver was threatened at knifepoint, began a series of violent events culminating in the attack on the officer as he tried to apprehend them.

Cheetham and White were captured on CCTV assaulting a man at Sandbeck House, Doncaster, after pulling up in the stolen car.

After the attack, both men got into the car and drove off again, where they were spotted by a police officer in an unmarked car in Cleveland Street, Doncaster, who noticed that Cheetham was struggling to control the vehicle. The car crashed into a metal barrier, with Cheetham and White running from the vehicle into the Hexthorpe area, pursued by police officers.

Sgt Pettican chased the men into an alleyway near Sheardown Street, where Cheetham grabbed the officer's handcuffs and used them against him - repeatedly striking his head.

Doncaster's District Commander, Shaun Morley, described the attack as 'a truly horrifying assault'.

He said the incident 'sent shockwaves throughout the local community, officers and staff in Doncaster and indeed the wider force'.

Zuleika Payne, chairman of the South Yorkshire branch of the Police Federation, said: "The bravery and professionalism shown by Sgt Pettican went above and beyond the call of duty.

"He showed exceptional bravery, putting his own life at risk to catch the offender.

"It is incidents such as this, which illustrate the harsh realities of being a police officer.

"When officers come to work, they never know what dangers they will face. It is vitally important that we recognise the courage of those who put themselves in harm’s way to protect and serve."

Cheetham pleaded guilty to robbery, possession of a bladed article, assault occasioning actual bodily harm, driving while disqualified, wounding with intent to resist arrest and use of an offensive weapon.

White, of Low Road, Conisbrough pleaded guilty to one count of assault occasioning actual bodily harm in relation to the incident at Sandbeck House and was jailed today for 18 months.