Constable accused of breaking man’s jaw says he threw punches as he was ‘scared for his safety’

A police constable accused of breaking a man’s jaw has told a court he threw three punches because he was “incredibly scared” for his safety.

PC Edward Gordon is alleged to have caused grievous bodily harm to David Thomas by punching him repeatedly in the head when he asked for help after falling victim to an unprovoked attack in Nottingham city centre in November 2019.

Gordon, 21, told jurors he had escalated his use of force against Mr Thomas because “that’s what you are taught in safety training”.

Giving evidence at Leicester Crown Court on Tuesday, the defendant said he had made a comment to a colleague about not being able to justify his use of force because he is a “self-critical person by nature”.

The trial was previously told the alleged attack occurred close to a pub on South Sherwood Street after Mr Thomas, who had enjoyed a night out with his partner and two sons, was assaulted by a group of males.

Gordon told jurors he had escalated his use of force after Mr Thomas pushed him to one side in order to confront a member of the public wearing a white top, causing the officer to lose his helmet.

Speaking in the witness box, the defendant said: “Obviously I had just been assaulted and David Thomas is still trying to get to the white-topped man so I am concerned for his safety and mine, so I have gone straight in to defend myself.

“I was scared for my safety.

“At that point my entire focus was on David Thomas and what he had just done to me.”

Playing back CCTV footage of the incident, Gordon’s defence barrister Kevin Baumber then asked: “Why are you escalating your techniques?”

“That’s what you are taught in safety training,” the defendant replied.

“You escalate your force to more than what is being done to you.

“I’m incredibly scared for my safety at that point and for a member of the public.

“I believed David Thomas could assault me again and go on to assault a member of the public so I needed to take immediate action.”

Asked why he had made a comment to a fellow officer saying he did not believe he could justify his use of force, PC Gordon said: “It is not an incident I have walked away from with injuries and I have punched someone in the face three times.

“It was a spur of the moment comment.

“I do to this day believe I can justify it.”

Responding to claims he had just lost his temper, the defendant said: “I would say that’s not the case.

“It is me responding to a threat to the public.”

Gordon, who was based at Nottingham’s Riverside Police Station, was part-way through a police constable apprenticeship degree at the University of Derby.

At the time of the incident he was working his first night time economy shift.

The defendant, from Nottingham, denies unlawfully and maliciously inflicting grievous bodily harm on Mr Thomas.

The trial continues.