Policeman suffers serious injury during 25 minute struggle to arrest Machynlleth man

220521 Police assault

A routine arrest "erupted" into a violent struggle which lasted almost 25 minutes and caused an officer a serious leg injury.The incident left the PC needing a knee brace and crutches to get about and fearful of the long-term impact on his career.During the confrontation Barrie Wilks - who now goes by the name Mallory - lashed out and kicked the officers, tried to bite them, and tried to get hold of a Taser and a Pava incapacitant spray.The incident happened just days after the 35-year-old had been given a community order for a previous attack on police officers.Dean Pulling, prosecuting, told Swansea Crown Court that on the morning of April 3 this year officers went to Penegoes near Machynlleth looking for Wilks in connection with other matters after receiving information he was living in a caravan in the village.

The defendant was not in the caravan but officers were told to look in a shed at the neighbouring property. The officers entered the shed and found Wilks wearing a wig and hiding under a blanket on a sofa.

Mr Pulling said the officers began talking calmly to Wilks and trying to reassure him while also asking him to show his hands. The prosecutor said when the officers took hold of Wilks the defendant "erupted into violence and became extremely aggressive". There followed a protracted struggle between the officers and defendant which saw Wilks repeatedly lashing out, kicking, and trying to bite the officers.

At one point the defendant pulled a Pava spray canister from the belt of one of the officers and made a grab for a Taser stun gun. Wilks also subjected them to a torrent of abuse.The court heard the struggle lasted around 25 minutes before backup arrived and the defendant was subdued and placed in handcuffs and leg restrains. The aggressive and abusive behaviour continued on the journey to Aberystwyth police station.The defendant gave a "no comment" interview to officers.Mr Pulling said one of the officers involved in the altercation suffered torn ligaments in his knee and had to wear a full leg brace for six weeks, and needed crutches to get around. The officer was put on desk duties as a result, and the court heard he fears what the long-term consequences of the injury will be and is concerned about the possible impact on his career.Barrie Thomas Wilks, of Penegroes, Machynlleth, Powys - who identifies as non-binary - had previously pleaded guilty to common assault of an emergency worker and to battery of an emergency worker when the case came back to court for sentence. The defendant has two previous convictions for seven offences including for theft, criminal damage,and assaulting PC - these offences arose from incidents at Aberystwyth fire station. The defendant was subject to a community order for these matters at the time of the Penegroes assault.Ashanti-Jade Walton, for Wilks, said the defendant had attended catering college in Birmingham and worked in cafes before working as a flight attendant for Thomas Cook, and then moving to Wales and becoming a retained firefighter.

She said "something significant has clearly happened" in the defendant's life which has gone from having a successful career to being in the dock of a Crown court.The barrister said a report on the defendant identified possible post traumatic stress disorder as a result of attending a harrowing incident while an on-call firefighter, and she said Wilks "feels a great deal of anger and upset" at bullying and name-calling thedefendant was subjected to over a long period while volunteering with the fire service in mid Wales.

Judge Geraint Walters said the case of Wilks was a troubling one. He said a report had identified probable post-traumatic stress disorder along with elements of a personality disorder and emotional instability, as well as alcohol and drug misuse.The judge urged Wilks to get help to tackle the underlying mental health issues which had been identified or run the risk of repeatedly coming into conflict with the law.With a one-third discount for the guilty pleas the judge sentenced Wilks to four months in prison for each of the two assaults on the PCs, the sentences to run consecutively making eight months. Judge Walters revoked the community order the defendant was subject to and imposed a total of four months in prison for those matters to run consecutively with the new sentence making an overall sentence of 12 months in prison. Wilks will serve up to half that period before being released on licence to serve the remainder in the community.