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Officer who had ammonia thrown in his face speaks out after culprit jailed

  • Timmy Sullivan jailed after failing to stop from officers
  • Sullivan eventually Tasered by officers after a chase
  • He was found in possession of offensive weapons along with the ammonia
  • PC Simon Ashton spoke on camera about his experience

A man who threw ammonia in a police officer’s face after being pulled over for dangerous driving has been jailed for more than seven years.


Timmy Sullivan, 30, of Coulgate Street, Lewisham, was sentenced on Monday (9 October 2017), at Inner London Crown Court following an incident on Saturday, 15 April at 11pm at the junction of Goswell Road and Charterhouse Street, EC1, when two City of London Police officers had a liquid substance thrown at them after stopping a car in the course of their duties.

Following the sentence, PC Simon Ashton from the City of London Police, who was on the receiving end of Sullivan's attack, has bravely spoken about the night of the incident, his injuries, and the aftermath - including his return to work after just seven days.

Reflecting on the altercation in a video released today by the City of London Police, he commented: "I was fighting, at that particular time, I believed, for my life. He managed to get an arm free, at which point I had a liquid thrown in my face."

"I'm fine with [returning to work] but out of every incident we should learn from it. Does it make me more cautious? I'm more cautious over persons carrying liquid bottles."

PC Ashton goes on to share valuable advice about what to do if you find yourself on the receiving end of such an attack.

Lengthy sentence

Sullivan received an extended sentence of 11 years and three months, of which seven years and three months will be spent in custody, with an extension period of four years. This was for one count of attempting to cause grievous bodily harm (GBH) with intent.

He also received concurrent sentences for the remaining charges, as well as being banned from driving for the next nine years.


At an earlier hearing, Sullivan pleaded guilty to one count of Section 18 attempted grievous bodily harm (GBH), plus additional offences of dangerous driving; assaulting a police officer; driving whilst disqualified; driving without insurance; handling stolen goods; and two counts of possession of an offensive weapon.

Failed to stop for officers


The court heard how, earlier in the evening, officers in Fleet Street attempted to stop a black Mercedes Vito taxi which was seen driving erratically on the wrong side of the road. The car failed to stop and sped off towards Charterhouse Street.


Two City Police officers in the area were notified and stopped the vehicle at the junction of Goswell Road and Charterhouse Street. When they tried to get Sullivan, who was not a licensed taxi driver, out of the driver’s seat, he threw ammonia from a bottle of household cleaner in the officer’s faces, incapacitating one of them. When the second officer tried to detain Sullivan, he was punched in the face before Sullivan ran away towards Central Street.


Despite the punch, the second officer ran after Sullivan and soon stopped him in nearby Gee Street using a Taser, and he was then arrested.

Unlicensed taxi driver


Upon investigation, Sullivan was also found to be in possession of a 20-inch machete and a crowbar, and a stolen taxi licence badge. The taxi being driven was stolen in a burglary not attributed to Sullivan and resulted in the charge of handling stolen goods.


The two officers were taken immediately to Royal London Hospital, one with a serious injury to his right eye, from which he is still suffering and is likely to continue. The other received a minor injury from the punch, and both were discharged the following morning.

Detective Constable James Harvey of City of London Police CID, who led the investigation, said:


“This was an horrendous attack on two of our own police officers who were extremely lucky not to suffer any more serious or long-term injuries.


“Acid can cause atrocious injuries, and we have seen a number of reports of incidents of this nature in the capital in recent months.


“Both of these officers should be commended for a remarkable job detaining Sullivan to ensure he was brought before the courts to be held accountable for his actions.”  

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