Man jailed for stabbing Derbyshire police dog PD Axle

Matthew Stretch Image copyright Derbyshire Constabulary
Image caption Matthew Stretch admitted stabbing PD Axle three times

A man who "almost killed" a police dog by stabbing it three times has been jailed for six years and seven months.

Matthew Stretch, 28, knifed PD Axle after the German shepherd chased him into a canal in July.

Earlier the same day, Stretch tried to attack an officer while avoiding arrest. After stabbing Axle, he threatened another PC with a knife.

Stretch, who admitted charges including criminal damage and making threats to kill, was jailed at Derby Crown Court.

PD Axle has since recovered from emergency treatment and is back on duty, Derbyshire Constabulary said.

The force received hundreds of messages of support after Axle was attacked.

At a hearing last month, Stretch, of Plantation Road, Keyworth, Nottinghamshire, pleaded guilty to three counts of making threats to kill - against the two officers and a woman who he was banned from seeing due to a restraining order.

He also pleaded guilty to two counts of damaging property - PD Axle and a police car - common assault, having an offensive weapon, and breaching the restraining order.

Stretch had a suspended sentence for previous offences, which was activated to run concurrently.

Image copyright Derbyshire Police
Image caption The force received hundreds of messages of support after Axle was injured

Chief Constable Peter Goodman said: "This attack was not solely limited to police constables, as PD Axle also suffered dreadful injuries as a result of multiple stab wounds, whereby he nearly lost his life.

"While there has been a significant financial cost as a result of Stretch's violent and unprovoked attack, this pales into insignificance when compared to the mental and physical scars that these officers will carry with them for the rest of their lives."

Injuries to police dogs are currently treated as criminal damage.

A proposal for a new law to give greater protection to police animals was blocked earlier this year after an objection by Conservative MP Christopher Chope.

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