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Police officer filmed hitting teenage football fan with baton found dead weeks before trial
16 February 2022, 19:56
A police officer due to stand trail for hitting a teenage football fan round the head with a baton, has been found dead just weeks before his trial was set to start.
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The body of PC William Sampson, was found at his home in Sheffield last Friday.
PC Sampson, known as Billy, was charged with unlawfully and maliciously wounding the 16-year-old while on duty on February 8, 2020.
The 27-year-old, who denied the charge, was due to stand trial at Leeds Crown Court on March 7 accused of assaulting a 16-year-old Sheffield Wednesday supporter.
He had been placed on restricted duties pending the outcome of his trial.
The thoughts of South Yorkshire Police Federation are with the family, friends of and close colleagues of PC Billy Sampson, who has died. pic.twitter.com/YOoXsiL4kZ— South Yorks Police Federation (@SYPolFed) February 15, 2022
Shocking footage posted on social media showed PC Sampson running towards the boy with his baton in the air before striking him on his head.
In the viral video a woman, reported to be the boy's mother, can be heard screaming, "what have you done to my son?" whilst blood poured down the victims face.
The 16-year-old was taken to hospital with head injuries, and graphic photographs later showed over an inch long gash on the boy's head.
The "aggressive" response sparked backlash online with some branding the force "corrupt to the core".
The Independent Office for Police Conduct (IOPC) launched a probe into the incident with Regional Director David Ford saying at the tie: "We understand why the images that were circulated caused considerable public concern.
"After the footage was shared on social media, a mandatory referral was made to us in relation to the conduct of the officer.
"It is vitally important that the circumstances of the incident are subject to an independent investigation so we can fully understand what happened and impartially determine the facts."
An IOPC spokeswoman said the investigation was completed in August that year and confirmed a file had been referred to the Crown Prosecution Service (CPS), which made the decision to charge Sampson.
Had he been found guilty of the offence, PC Sampson faced up to five years in prison.
On Wednesday, Steve Kent, chairman of the South Yorkshire branch of the Police Federation, said: "On behalf of colleagues, all of our thoughts are with Billy’s family, friends and colleagues at this time."
Paying tribute online, Sadie Tummon said: "RIP Billy you were a good friend to me from a young age throughout my childhood and school. You will be missed."
If you are in need of support, call the Samaritans on 116123.