BREAKING LONDON NEWHAM

A man who attacked police officers with an axe has been jailed

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Vasile Alexandru, 30  of Pelly Road, Newham, E13 appeared at Snaresbrook Crown Court where he was sentenced to seven years’ imprisonment.
At an earlier appearance at the same court on Thursday, 29 October, he pleaded guilty to attempting to cause grievous bodily harm and assault on an emergency worker.
On Wednesday, 20 May officers executed a search warrant at Alexandru’s home address. The property had come to their attention during an operation being run by the Met’s Modern Slavery and Child Exploitation unit and was suspected of being a brothel, the occupants of which were believed to be victims of modern slavery.
At around 06:15hrs, officers attempted to gain access to the premises and on doing so heard loud banging from inside.
Believing that someone may be disposing of evidence or trying to escape, an officer – aged in his 40s – struck the front door around five times with an entry tool known as an enforcer.
The tool became lodged in the door and as he tried to remove it, the glass in the window of the door was shattered from the inside causing shards to hit his face, chest, arms and hands.
As this happened, he saw the blade of an axe descend through the broken window.
A second officer, aged in his 30s, was also hit by shards of glass and sustained a puncture wound to his wrist.
Both officers describe seeing a man with a beard through the shattered window.
Entry was gained and a search of the house was conducted but there was no sign of the man they had seen.
Three women were found inside the property. They confirmed they were sex workers but claimed they were doing so of their own free will.
Alexandru was stopped a few minutes later not far from the property. He was arrested on suspicion of attempted grievous bodily harm and controlling prostitution.
Detective Inspector Nigel Penny, from Central Specialist Crime, said: “This case highlights the levels of violence that police officers and other emergency workers can face whilst in the execution of their duty.
“The message is clear that any levels of violence against our colleagues who serve the public and keep our communities safe will not be tolerated. That is supported by the courts and we will always seek the full force of the judiciary to punish these offenders.
“The substantial custodial sentence passed down today reflects the severity of the attack on police officers doing their job and is a welcome reminder that our society will not tolerate such acts of violence.”