East Lancs police officer blasted with sawn-off shotgun, court told

PC Suzanne Hudson and James Leslie

PC Suzanne Hudson and James Leslie

First published in News
Last updated

A POLICE officer from Pendle was blasted with a sawn-off shotgun leaving her hand a ‘bloody and tangled mess’, a court heard.

PC Suzanne Hudson, a former Mansfield High student, was gunned down after she knocked on a door in Headingley, Leeds, with colleague PC Richard Whitely, the city’s crown court was told.

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The officer, from Brierfield, had 80 pellets lodged in her hand and suffered serious injuries to her face and neck including her carotid artery.

She had been investigating an allegation of minor criminal damage when James Leslie, 37, is alleged to have fired the weapon through glass in the door.

Prosecutor Richard Wright QC said Leslie then rode away on a bike, shouting ‘do you want some more?’ and then swore at them.

He told the court: “He pedalled off up the road but again only after he had paused near to the officers, gun in hand, and shouted to Richard Whitely, who was tending to his injured colleague.

"While Suzanne Hudson was badly injured and bleeding heavily, her partner Richard Whitely has escaped injury by virtue of being behind her and further down the stairs.

"He dragged her away from the flat and made a frantic call for help on his police radio."

The jury was played a recording of PC Whitely’s emergency call for help.

The prosecutor said that armed police quickly arrived and PC Hudson was taken to Leeds General Infirmary.

He said she had ‘terrible injuries’ to her hand. “It was a bloody and tangled mess,” he said.

Mr Wright said the officer’s carotid artery and jugular vein had to be repaired by a surgeon.

The officer is also a former Nelson and Colne College student who still has family in Nelson and Burnley.

The court heard Leslie was arrested after being spotted at a Subway branch in Leeds.

He was taken to a nearby police station, where it was established that he had been diagnosed with schizophrenia.

Mr Wright said Leslie repeated the word ‘police’ to the officers after they knocked, in what Pc Hudson said was a ‘gangster or a street accent’.

He said: “She did not think he was seeking clarification for who it was, she thought he was mocking her."

Mr Wright said PC Hudson was only around 30cm away when she was shot through frosted glass shortly after 4am.

"PC Hudson did not know what had hit her," he said.

"Everything seemed quiet apart from the ringing inside her head. She was disorientated but she did not appreciate that she had been injured.

“PC Whitely grabbed hold of her and dragged her down the stairs and away from the door, back to the front of the building and away from the gunman.

“When she looked at her hand, she saw it was a bloody and tangled mess. But it was not until she heard her colleague transmit a radio message that she knew that she had been shot.”

Mr Wright said it was the first time the two officers had worked together.

He told the jury that the 5ft 2in PC Hudson was ‘new to frontline policing’, having been working in that role for a matter of a few days.

The prosecutor said the two officers did know the gun could not be fired again when Leslie followed them from the flat.

Mr Wright said: "It is simply a matter of luck that the defendant did not kill PC Hudson."

Leslie denies attempted murder.

The trial continues.

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