'I thought I was going to die' - armed police officer hit by Mercedes driver

13 October 2020, 10:20 | Updated: 13 October 2020, 10:25

Driver facing jail for deliberately mowing down firearms officer

EJ Ward

By EJ Ward

Shocking police footage shows the moment a Mercedes driver deliberately mowed down an armed police officer

The officer told the Old Bailey: “I remember being scared for my life."I thought I was going to die. I remember thinking if this car was going to crash, I was going to die.”

A twenty-six-year-old man is facing jail after being convicted of deliberately mowing down an armed police officer who was attempting to arrest him.

Armed Response Vehicle officers were attempting to arrest Aydin Altun in Tottenham on October 29 last year when he ploughed his vehicle into Pc Lewis Crowder.

Pc Crowder and two of his colleagues had stopped the Mercedes following an investigation into a shooting the previous evening.

The firearms officer had his rifle raised and was shouting "armed police, armed police, show me your hands, show me your hands" when Altun floored the accelerator.

Moment Mercedes driver hits armed police officer attempting to arrest him

Dramatic footage released by the Met Police shows the victim clinging on to the bonnet for a split second before being thrown off - missing concrete bollards and a bus stop by inches.

At Altun's trial, the Old Bailey heard the officer was left in considerable pain and very dazed as he lapsed in and out of consciousness.

Pc Crowder said in court: "I remember being scared for my life, I thought I was going to die. I remember thinking if this car was going to crash, I was going to die."

He was taken to hospital, but did not suffer life-threatening injuries, possibly protected by the armour worn by police marksmen.

Altun, of Suffolk Road, in Tottenham, was cleared of attempted murder but convicted of a lesser charge of attempting to cause grievous bodily harm by the jury on a majority verdict of 10 to two after 14 hours and 49 minutes of deliberations.

He was also cleared of possessing a firearm with intent to endanger life and possessing ammunition with intent to endanger life.

He was further cleared of possessing a self-loading pistol and 9mm ammunition with intent to endanger life along with others unknown, and cleared of possessing ammunition without a firearms certificate in connection with the shooting the previous evening.

His defence team claimed that he panicked when faced with the armed response unit, and had no intention to harm the officer.

Christopher Birtham, for Altun, said he had "panicked and made the wrong decision" and that Pc Crowder's death or serious injury was not a "necessary or a desirable outcome" for the defendant.

This is the moment the officer was jettisoned from the bonnet of the Mercedes
This is the moment the officer was jettisoned from the bonnet of the Mercedes. Picture: Met Police

The defendant pleaded guilty to a charge of dangerous driving ahead of his trial.

Altun was in court alongside his mother Sutan Altun, 54, also of Suffolk Road, and his sister, Hanim Altun, 24, of Forest Gardens, Tottenham, who were accused of helping to cover up his crime.

It was claimed they both told the police the Mercedes - which was registered in the name of Sutan's husband and her children's father Ali Altun, who was in Turkey at the time - had been stolen.

But they were both cleared of one count of perverting the course of justice.

Altun is due to be sentenced on Friday at 10am.

Altun is due to be sentenced on Friday at 10am.
Altun is due to be sentenced on Friday at 10am. Picture: Met Police

A series of high-profile incidents over the past 18 months has led to calls for longer sentences for those who attack police officers in the course of their duty.

Pc Andrew Harper was killed in Berkshire last August when his legs became entangled in a tow strap attached to a car driven by three teenagers suspected of burglary.

His widow Lissie has been campaigning for a new law dubbed "Harper's Law" that would see those who kill emergency workers jailed for life.

On September 25 of this year, Sergeant Matiu Ratana was shot dead by a handcuffed suspect at Croydon Custody Centre.

A female police officer was stabbed in the abdomen on October 4 after confronting two teenagers suspected of robbing a grocery store in Pimlico, central London.

She was taken to hospital but was discharged within 24 hours, the Met Police said.

The armed officer challenged the driver
The armed officer challenged the driver. Picture: Met Police

Met assistant commissioner Louisa Rolfe said: "We're just weeks on from the awful killing of Sgt Matt Ratana, I'm pleased that a dangerous criminal who drove at an officer and put his life in danger has been convicted.

"Thankfully such incidents are rare but being an officer in London can be tough and officers can face danger every day.

"However, this does not stop the amazing, dedicated and professional men and women putting on their uniforms, going out there on the streets of London and continuing our mission of keeping everyone safe."

She said the force would "relentlessly pursue" those who assault police officers.

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