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Disgraced former PC Matthew Edwards jailed for affray after calling on pals with mallet and hammer after assault

24 February 2014
by Paul Hooper

A Rochester police officer claimed he was beaten up and had his 'special' watch stolen during an all-night bash.

But drunken PC Matthew Edwards, 26, didn't dial 999... he called three pals who arrived armed with a hammer and a mallet.

And that led to a bust-up at the property in Paget Street in Gillingham and left two partygoers nursing wounds.

The case was heard at Canterbury Crown Court

Barristers will also go on strike at Canterbury Crown Court

Now disgraced policeman Edwards - who was sacked after the incident - has been jailed for a year after admitting affray.

Close pals Ross Mitchell and Mark Toulson were each jailed for 15 months - and Jason Cole for 13-and-a-half months after pleading guilty to the same charge.

Edwards, 26, of Trevale Road, Rochester sat in the opposite side of the dock at Canterbury Crown Court after a fall-out over what happened in December 2012.

The other three Mark Toulson, 26, of Nares Road, Jason Cole, 29, of Longfellow Road and Ross Mitchell, 31, of Arden Street, all Gillingham, were separated from Edwards by three security staff.

Prosecutor Dominic Connolly told how Edwards had been out boozing in pubs and the Bliss Nightclub before going to the home in Gillingham in the early hours of the morning.

The court heard that when his blood was later examined it showed traces of ecstasy which Edwards claimed was the result of his drink being spiked.

Edwards then claimed he had been attacked and his watch - a family heirloom - had been stolen and he began making more than 30 calls to friends for help.

 But Judge James O'Mahony said: "It was easily open to you to contact the police officially - after all you were in the force.

"I have no doubt if you had done that there would have been squad cars outside in
short order."

Instead Edwards called Mitchell for help. He would later claim he only knew him casually - but Mitchell revealed they had been close pals for 12 years.

Judge James O'Mahony

Judge James O'Mahony passed sentence

Mr Connolly showed the court CCTV footage of Mitchell, Toulson and Cole arriving at about 8.30am - carrying weapons.

"It was easily open to you to contact the police officially - after all you were in the force.

"Edwards let them into the property and can be seen on the CCTV beckoning them inside the property, which is run by an organisation called 'Lookahead Housing and Care' - which offers accommodation for the homeless.

The prosecutor added that one of the partygoers was sat in the lounge when the doors flew open and Edwards and his armed gang burst inside.

"One of the males hit him to the side of the head with something hard. One of the other males then punched him on the right side of his face.

"He put his hands to his face and his hands were covered in blood. He then ran outside the house and up Paget Street and asked a passer-by to call the police," he said.

The man was later treated for a cut to the right side of his head which needed to be glued at a hospital. He also received a bruise and another smaller cut to his right eye.

Liberty Atkins - who was asleep in another room - came downstairs and recalled Edwards insisting that everyone look for his missing watch, he then told them he would "get his boys here".

She later told officers that "suddenly" three or four men came through the living room and saw the hammer attack.

"The man then turned towards her as if he was going to hit her and she and a number of other girls then begged not to be hit. They then all ran out of the lounge and into one of the bedrooms.

"She looked out of a window which overlooks the garden. She saw one of the males punching and kneeing one of the men at the party.

"She also saw Elliot Elmer, who had also been present , being punched by another

"I have no doubt if you had done that there would have been squad cars outside in
short order" - Judge James O'Mahony

"She saw Edwards in the garden pushing another person she knew as Lewis, " added Mr Connolly.

The court heard at 12.07 Edwards called Amy McKirdy, a police officer, claiming he had been attacked and said one of the males had taken his watch.

When Toulson was arrested he told police: "The GBH I will have. I was swinging the hammer round."

Matthew Lawson, for Edwards said that until his sacking he had received commendations for his police work.

Lucy Luttman, for Toulson said he had been drinking and taking drugs for two days before receiving a call for help.

"He was pretty much out of it and had been in a stupor when he got the phone call.

"He was told that Edwards was claiming he had his ear bitten off and had been robbed and wanted help in getting back his watch.

"He picked up the hammer from Mitchell's van and he went into the lounge swinging the hammer around.

"He was flailing it about and is fortunate that there wasn't more serious damage caused."

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