A brainless yob who dropped a coping stone on a police car as it rushed to an emergency 999 call has been jailed for eight years.
Jason Gamble, 45, hurled the slab of masonry from a footbridge as the patrol car, with its blue lights flashing, drove underneath at 11.40pm on February 2 last year.
The two stone (14.4kg) brick smashed through the vehicle’s window screen leaving the 49-year-old police sergeant and a 27-year-old police constable with facial injuries.
Initially both officers, from West Midlands Police, believed they had been fired on by a crazed gunman.
On Monday (11/1) Gamble was jailed for eight years after he was found guilty of causing criminal damage with the intention of endangering the lives of two police officers.
Sentencing him at Warwick Crown Court, Judge Alan Parker said: “You covered your face with a scarf and hurled the coping stone at the police car.
“This led the police officer who was driving to believe he had been shot at with a bullet from a gun.
“There is no doubt the lives of the police officers were put in immediate danger and also those of anyone else on that stretch of road.
“You were reckless as to the risk – mercifully those risks were not realised but that was by pure chance.
“This incident came from your selfish and irrational obsession that somehow others were to blame for your own situation.”
The court heard the officers were responding to a reported burglary and were passing under a bridge near to Coventry train station when their car was hit.
Prosecutor Hugh Williams said: “Mr Gamble dropped the stone from the bridge which hit the window and then saw glass shattering in to the police car.
“One officer suffered a bruised shoulder and glass in both eyes, while the other had pain in his shoulder, possibly after being hit by the brick.”
Gamble, a former baker and Aston Martin worker, was arrested the following day after he was identified by a fellow resident at the Salvation Army hostel where he was staying.
Police also identified him after checking CCTV footage.
Gamble, of Foleshill, Coventry, had denied the charge and went on trial last November but a jury took just two hours to reach a guilty verdict.
The court heard Gamble held a grudge against West Midlands Police who arrested him weeks before the stone attack for throwing a bottle onto the pitch during a Coventry City FC game.
He also blamed the authorities after social services limited his access to his children.
Marcus Harry, defending, said: “Mr Gamble himself has said it was a moment of madness.
“He has said he feels sorry, disgusted and ashamed by what he did.
“He had a difficult start in life, but for 44 years he was law-abiding citizen and also had a 14-year marriage, which saw him become sole carer for his son when it ended.”
Gamble was previously jailed for 12 weeks for a protest on a Coventry Ring Road bridge that delayed traffic for several hours and damaging a police car.
He apologised for the protest which saw him straddle the handrail of the Canal Basin bridge in December 2014 as he continued a battle to be able to see his children.
Detective Inspector Stuart Bell, of West Midlands Police, said: “This was a serious attack on officers in a marked police car in the course of their duty.
“Given the size of the coping stone, and the impact it made on the car, it’s incredibly fortunate neither officer was seriously hurt.
“I am grateful to everyone who came forward with information to support our investigation and pleased the court has recognised the seriousness of Gamble‘s actions by handing him a lengthy jail term.
“Our officers work hard to keep people safe and it is beyond comprehension that they should come under attack in this way in the line of that duty.”