Braintree: Officer commended for tackling axe-wielding man
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PC Steven Aspinall has been recognised with a commendation by Chief Constable Ben-Julian Harrington for disarming a man wielding an axe.
PC Aspinall and a colleague were called to an incident in Braintree where Tomasz Twardziszewski had broken into an address he had been evicted from the previous day. He was armed with an axe and was threatening to kill the occupants.
When local officers arrived, they were confronted by Twardziszewski at the front door. He was covered in his own blood. Twardziszewski had forced his way through many of the internal doors and left the occupants fearing for their safety.
PC Aspinall and a colleague from the Force Support Unit arrived to provide armed backup. They cleared the property and located Twardziszewski in a shed in the garden.
The officers tried to communicate with the Twardziszewski, pleading with him to drop the weapon, aware that he was distressed and conscious he might be trying to orchestrate a confrontation.
Twardziszewski emerged from the shed and charged at the officers with the axe raised. PC Aspinall took a single shot with a baton gun that dislodged the axe and allowed the officers to safely restrain and arrest him.
Twardziszewski, then 44 and of no fixed address, was prosecuted for making threats to kill, affray and criminal damage. He was sentenced to two years and six months in prison at Chelmsford Crown Court.
It is a third commendation for PC Aspinall who has previously been recognised for disarming a suspect in Brentwood High Street and administering CPR to a man who’d had a heart attack.
Reflecting on the events in Braintree, PC Aspinall said: “We went out to the garden and he (Twardziszewski) was smashing and banging around in the shed. We called his name and that was enough to bring him out. He came out brandishing the axe with, I guess, the intention of bashing one of us.”
PC Aspinall said the swift conclusion to the incident was down to the preparation officers do for such events.
“We were just doing our job. It happened so fast that you don’t really get time to think. It’s testimony to the training we do. We train a lot and that’s why, it helps you make the right decisions.”
Chief Constable Ben-Julian Harrington paid tribute to the officer at a ceremony at headquarters.
He said: “PC Aspinall’s bravery and quick-thinking when confronted by a man who had the potential to do a great deal of harm was exceptional.
“In the face of extreme danger, he put the safety of others ahead of his own wellbeing and his decisive actions brought an end to what had been an extremely serious incident where the lives of a number of people were threatened. This was police work at its best.”
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