Two Cheshire police officers were left fearing for their lives after a violent prisoner they were transporting suddenly started brutally attacking them as they drove at 70mph in the fast lane.

DC Vicki Shelton and DC David MacFarlane from Northwich Local Policing Unit had arrested Christopher Hartley in Huddersfield on suspicion of possessing indecent images and were driving him to Cheshire for questioning when he suddenly struck DS Shelton over the head with his handcuffs and tried to gouge out her eyes as she drove along the M62.

Leeds Crown Court heard that convicted sex offender Hartley, 44, also bit a chunk out of DC MacFarlane’s arm as he desperately tried to restrain the prisoner during the attack on September 7 last year.

Our sister paper the Huddersfield Daily Examiner reports that ‘miraculously’ , DC Shelton managed to steer across three lanes of busy traffic and bring the car to a halt on the hard shoulder.

Hartley then turned and spat a piece of DC Macfarlane’s flesh in the face of DC Shelton as she pleaded with him not to kill her colleague, before calming down as suddenly as he had erupted. The officers managed to control him until colleagues from Cheshire and West Yorkshire police forces arrived to arrest him.


Both spent months off work as a result of their injuries and are still receiving medical treatment and counselling. DC Macfarlane had to have HIV tests and surgery on his arm, which has been left with ‘an unsightly scar’.

Hartley was yesterday jailed for a total of 14 years after admitting two offences of attempting to inflict grievous bodily harm with intent, one of causing grievous bodily harm with intent, seven of possessing indecent images, one of possessing extreme pornography and breaching the Sexual Offences Prevention Order.

Judge James Spencer QC, said it was ‘a mercy there was not some catastrophe.’

In her victim impact statement, DC Shelton said she feared they were all going to die and she would never see her children again.

She said: “I can only see the evil face that tried to kill me coming towards me like a caged animal. It was the worst day of my life and I thought it would be the last day of my life.”

Cheshire Police Assistant Chief Constable Nick Bailey said: “Police officers work extremely hard to protect the public on a daily basis and they do not deserve to be assaulted as they carry out their duties.

“The sentence handed to Hartley reflects the severity of this horrific attack. At the time of the incident both officers genuinely feared for their lives, and they are still recovering from what happened that day, both physically and emotionally.

“They have since returned to work and are being supported through this difficult and traumatic time.

“I would like to thank both for the bravery and courage that they have shown. Had it not been for the actions taken by them on that day I have no doubt that the incident could have been far worse.”