Gunman guilty of Pc murder bid

James Leslie was found guilty of attempted murder

James Leslie was found guilty of attempted murder

Police Constables Richard Whiteley and Suzanne Hudson arriving at Leeds Crown Court. James Leslie, 38, was convicted at Leeds Crown Court of attempting to murder Pc Hudson.

First published in National News © by

A gunman who blasted a police officer on his doorstep then laughed as he cycled away from the scene has been convicted of attempted murder.

James Leslie, 38, shot Pc Suzanne Hudson through his front door as she and colleague Pc Richard Whiteley made routine inquiries about a neighbour dispute in Leeds last December.

As she lay seriously injured on the floor, with Pc Whiteley desperately radioing for back-up, Leslie goaded the pair, saying: "Do you want some more, you pussies?"

Leslie, of Cardigan Road, Headingley, was convicted following a trial at Leeds Crown Court.

Pc Hudson, 5ft 2ins tall and originally from Nelson, Lancashire, needed emergency surgery on arteries in her neck after the shooting. Her right hand was shredded by the shotgun pellets.

Richard Wright QC, prosecuting, said: "It is simply a matter of luck that the defendant did not kill Pc Hudson."

Pc Whiteley grabbed his badly injured colleague and dragged her away from the flat and onto the main road.

Moments later, Leslie appeared on his bike from some bushes, still carrying the gun and only 10ft away.

Pc Whiteley told the jury: "He said: 'Do you want some more, you pussies?'

"He brought it (the gun) up to make it quite clear he had it.

"I thought he was going to use it again on us.

"I thought I was going to die.

"My life flashed in front of my eyes.

"I thought Suzie was as well. I thought, he has used it once, he is going to use it again."

Initially Pc Hudson, who was on only her sixth frontline shift, had not realised she had been shot.

She told the court: "It was only when Pc Whiteley was on the police radio telling the control room what happened that he used words like 'Shots fired, officer down' at which point I obviously heard that and thought I must have been shot.

"That was the first point I had some sort of understanding of what had happened."

She looked at her palm and saw how badly she had been hurt.

"My fingers were splayed, my middle finger was at a 90-degree angle and there were pools of blood through my hand," she said.

She also found she was struggling to breathe, and realised her neck or throat had also been damaged.

"I felt like I was fading out," she said. "I couldn't move properly."

"I don't believe I lost any consciousness but I was very disorientated.

"It happened so quickly.

She was taken to Leeds General Infirmary where 80 pellets were removed from her hand. Her cartoid artery and jugular vein had to be repaired by a surgeon.

Colleagues launched a manhunt for Leslie, a schizophrenic, and he was arrested later at a Subway sandwich shop.

Pc Hudson showed the extent of her injuries to the jury, demonstrating how her hand had been left disfigured and removing her tie and loosening the collar of her uniform to show where she was hit in the neck below her right ear.

Leslie had admitted possessing a prohibited weapon and causing criminal damage.

But he denied attempting to murder Pc Hudson and an alternative charge of causing her grievous bodily harm with intent. He also denied possessing a shotgun with intent to endanger life but was convicted of that offence as well as attempted murder.

Giving evidence, Leslie repeatedly denied he had any reason to shoot the officer and said he did not mean to discharge the weapon.

He said: "I'm not a nut job who's just going to shoot down police for no reason".

He said he had not taken his medication that day and did not know it was police at the door, and that he brandished the weapon without meaning to discharge it to scare off whoever had knocked at his door.

It can now be reported that Leslie set fire to his cell and attacked a prison officer two days after the shooting. He has admitted arson and assault.

Mr Justice Lindblom adjourned sentence for two psychiatrists to assess him, and before sentence he will reside at Ashworth Hospital on Merseyside.

He told the defendant: "I'm going to order a report to be prepared by a psychiatrist at Ashworth. You will be seen by him or her and he or she will prepare a report to guide me when the time comes to sentence you for these offences."

The sentencing was likely to take place on October 2.

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