A court has heard how a West Yorkshire police officer feared he had been blinded with acid as he tried to arrest a suspect at a Brighouse petrol station.
Pc Anthony Burn spotted a Honda Civic with a tampered registration plate using the petrol station next to the Tesco store on Huddersfield Road and went into the kiosk to speak to the driver and his passenger.
But prosecutor Philip Adams told Bradford Crown Court today how a scuffle broke out between the officer and 23-year-old Iyub Ali as he tried to get away.
Mr Adams said CCTV footage of the early evening incident in April showed the struggle spilling out of the shop and onto the forecourt where Ali continued to try and pull away from the officer.
As the officer reached for his police issue PAVA spray Ali took a canister from his own pocket and discharged it in Pc Burn’s eyes.
The officer described being temporarily blinded in both eyes and feeling a burning sensation.
Although he did manage to use his own spray he couldn’t stop Ali wriggling out of his coat and running away.
Other officers attended the scene and Ali, of Bamford Street, Oldham, was arrested nearby with the canister in his pocket.
Mr Adams said the canister also contained PAVA “pepper spray” and Ali claimed to have bought it at a funfair for self defence after being the victim of a mugging.
The Recorder of Bradford Judge Jonathan Durham Hall QC was shown photographs of the officer’s face and eyes after the attack and he heard that Pc Burn had to have his eyes washed out with saline at Calderdale Royal Hospital.
He was also given eye drops to use for three weeks.
The judge, who jailed Ali for 10 months, referred to the officer’s statement in which he described how he felt “intense burning” to his face.
The officer explained that because he didn’t know what he had been sprayed with he was concerned he had been sprayed with some sort of acid or other substance with the intention of blinding him.
“I was concerned I was going to be seriously injured and may not see again,” he added.
Ali, who had no previous convictions for violence, admitted charges of assault, possessing a prohibited weapon and possession of cannabis.
Judge Durham Hall QC said the officer had suffered an understandable and terrifying fear that he had been sprayed in the face with acid and may not see again.
“It is difficult to quantify the additional torment that he must have suffered for some minutes,” said the judge.
The judge said Ali had used the spray to stop the officer in his tracks and it had been a very serious offence.