James Gray guilty of assault on PC Metcalf

Tuesday 6th May 2008 - Aylesbury Magistrates Court

On Tuesday 6th May 2008, at Aylesbury Magistrates Court, James Gray was found guilty (in his absence) of assaulting PC Metcalf a Thames Valley Police officer, during the RSPCA rescue operation at Spindles Farm on Friday 4th January 2008.

The court heard a very detailed account from PC Metcalf, and magistrate John Harding explained that the evidence given proved beyond reasonable doubt that James John Gray was guilty of the assault on the police officer. Mr. Gray had pleaded not guilty when he attended Aylesbury Magistrates Court on Monday 4th February 2008.

PC James Metcalf, based at Amersham Police Station, said that on Friday 4th January, Mr. Gray threatened to unleash his Rottweiler on them. He explained that when he later went to arrest Mr. Gray for damaging an RSPCA vehicle, Mr. Gray pushed him against the dog’s cage, with the animal still inside it. James Gray failed to appear at Aylesbury Magistrates Court to face the charges against him – the court was informed that he was unable to attend because he was unwell and that he had been visited by a doctor the night before.

The family was asked to fax over a medical certificate and, as one had not been received in time, the magistrate decided to proceed with the case. PC Metcalf said: “The dog was very aggressive. He had crusted-up eyes and didn’t look very well. Kristy Hampton, an RSPCA officer, told us that Jamie Gray was threatening to get his dog out on to her. I and two other officers went to see him and he said if we came near him, he would release the dog on to us. We then told him to put the dog back into the cage and he did.”

PC Metcalf said he was later informed by RSPCA officers that Mr Gray had slashed the tyres of one of the RSPCA vehicles. He said: “I then approached him to tell him that he would be arrested for this, and he threatened to head butt me. When I went to arrest him, he grabbed both my arms and pushed my back against the dog’s cage.

“I then punched him on the nose and the other two officers with me went to handcuff him. He was then taken back to the station.”

Janet Howard Holmes, prosecuting solicitor, explained that although there were two more witnesses, their story would only support the police officer’s account and therefore did not need to be heard. Mr Harding said: “A medical note was received but not by the time we requested it for.

“However, given that a medical note had eventually been supplied, Mr. Gray was given unconditional bail until Tuesday 20th May 2008; when he is due to appear at Aylesbury Magistrates Court to be sentenced. If he fails to appear, a warrant will be issued.” Mr. Gray was not represented in court.

James Gray sentencing 10th June 2008

Mr. Gray was also due to appear at High Wycombe Magistrates Court on Wednesday 7th May 2008, to face charges brought by Buckinghamshire Trading Standards. 4 charges were brought against him, which include failing to dispose of 16 animal carcasses from Spindles Farm and giving false information when applying for a licence to transport animals.

James Gray did not appear at High Wycombe Magistrates Court either, but sent a doctor’s note which said he was suffering from gastroenteritis. The case was adjourned until Wednesday 21st May 2008 at 2pm at High Wycombe Magistrates Court, when it will be heard.

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