Morgan Culshaw, aged 26, of Pennywell Drive, Oxford, was found guilty by a jury of two counts of assault occasioning actual bodily harm, dangerous driving, theft and possession of a firearm with intent to cause fear of violence after a trial at Oxford Crown Court, which concluded yesterday (19/8).
On 20 August last year, PCs Martin Woodford and Phil Duthie from Thames Valley Police’s Roads Policing Unit, attempted to stop a vehicle, a Renault Clio, between junctons 8 and 9 of the M40 in Oxfordshire, which had been observed being driven at excessive speed.
When they brought the vehicle to a halt, an altercation ensued between Culshaw and the two officers.
PC Woodford was punched and stamped on, being rendered temporarily unconscious, while PC Duthie was punched to the head and bitten.
During the incident, Culshaw also stole PC Woodford’s incapacitant sprays and sprayed him with it.
The altercation occurred on the side of the M40, which was busy with traffic.
Following the altercation, Culshaw got back into the Clio, which was then driven away before being rammed by another traffic officer in a tactical contact.
Culshaw then continued to drive the wrong way down the hard shoulder before crashing into a ditch and fleeing on foot, before he was finally arrested.
He was subsequently charged with multiple offences, and was convicted by unanimous jury following a trial lasting four days.
Commenting on the outcome of the case, Chief Inspector Chris Spellerberg, of the Roads Policing, Joint Operations Unit for Thames Valley Police and Hampshire Constabulary said: “This was an appalling, violent and unprovoked assault on our officers, who were patrolling the motorway network, keeping our roads safe.
“Culshaw put our officers and other road users in serious danger, driving the wrong way down the motorway, making every effort to evade police, stealing police captor spray and inflicting serious assaults on both PCs Duthie and Woodford.
“Our officers genuinely feared for their lives as they attempted to restrain Culshaw on the side of a busy live running motorway.
“Police officers go to work to serve our communities, and should expect to return home to their families safe and uninjured. Nothing can ever justify the violence that Culshaw inflicted on PCs Woodford and Duthie that day.
“I am really pleased that they were both able to return to work and to continue to serve our communities after such a horrific ordeal.
“I would like to thank the investigation team and Crown Prosecution Service for their work in helping us to bring Culshaw to justice and to colleagues who provided support on the night and in the subsequent days.
“The sentence of six years’ imprisonment highlights how seriously the trial judge took these offences, and Culshaw will now have a considerable time to reflect on his violent actions.”