1. ITV Report

Teenage boy found guilty of stabbing police dog Finn in Stevenage

  • Video report by ITV News Anglia's Hannah Pettifer

A teenage boy has been found guilty of stabbing a police dog and injuring his handler in Stevenage.

The attack on Finn, a 7-year-old German Shepherd who nearly died, led to a debate in parliament.

Government minister Brandon Lewis called him a 'local hero' and there are plans for a Finn's Law - harsher punishments for those who attack police dogs.

District Judge Jo Matson heard Finn was stabbed in the chest after chasing the 16-year-old in Denton Road, Stevenage on October 5 last year.

He had to undergo life-saving surgery. He returned to work in December but retired from the police on March 31 this year.

His handler PC Dave Wardell was also injured when chasing the teenager. He told the court his dog had been stabbed through the chest with the "biggest knife" he had seen.

The boy was found guilty of of actual bodily harm against PC Wardell and criminal damage in relation to the attack on PD Finn.

District Judge Jo Matson said:

I did not find the suspect's evidence to be credible or truthful.

He put himself in a position where it was necessary for Finn to stop him from running away with a knife in his hand.

– District Judge Jo Matson
Finn and his handler PC Dave Wardell. Credit: Hertfordshire Police

Outside court PC Wardell thanked his colleagues and the public for their support

I am very grateful to Finn for his response and bravery in a very dangerous situation where the suspect had a knife in his possession.

This was a harrowing ordeal for both of us and I cannot thank the public and my police colleagues enough for their support during this difficult time.

– PC Dave Wardell, Finn's handler

Sentencing was adjourned until June 6th.