Images have been released of the horrific injuries suffered by a police officer responding to a domestic incident in Filbin Crescent in Lurgan.
Mark Wright, the sergeant who sustained the injuries from 42-year-old Justin McAreavey, said he hoped the sentencing at Craigavon Crown Court will encourage confidence in policing and the service that police officers provide to the Craigavon community.
McAreavey was sentenced to seven years imprisonment for wounding with intent to do grievous bodily harm, attempted wounding with intent to do grievous bodily harm, assault on police, affray and possession of an offensive weapon.
The offences related to an incident in Filbin Crescent during the early hours of February 5, 2012. Police had responded to a report of a domestic incident and found McAreavey locked in a house with two small children present. He opened the door as officers attempted to gain entry and attacked Sergeant Wright with a knife and attempted to injure another officer before he was restrained and disarmed.
McAreavey was arrested at the scene and the two young children, aged one and three at the time, were uninjured.
Sergeant Wright, who sustained two knife wounds to his head in the incident, said: “I believe this was a fair sentence for fairly nasty and serious offences.
“For all of the police who attended that night this was a life and death situation. We knew there was a man in the house who had already assaulted a number of females and that two young children were also present in the house. Our priority was to ensure the safety of the kids. When the man appeared at the door, armed with two knives, our first priority was to disarm him and this is what we did. While I was injured I was not the only police officer there. This was a team effort and we worked together to make sure everyone came through the incident safely.”
During the sentencing Judge Lynch commended police for using minimum force and stated that the level of force used was ‘meritorious’ and proportionate.
Sergeant Wright continued: “I am aware of the perception in some communities that police are heavy handed and I hope the comments from the judge dispels some of this thinking. I hope that this incident and sentence shows this community that we are there to protect and help them and that we will carry out our duty professionally and respond to each call, regardless of who makes it or where it comes from, with the safety of the victim as our first priority.
“I was lucky in this instance that my injuries were superficial but it has still taken time for myself and the other officers who attended that evening to process the incident and the danger we faced. I hope that something worthwhile comes from this and the community will have more confidence in us and in reporting incidents.”