Jailed: Man who attacked police with an axe in Plaistow

Alexandru Vasile

Alexandru Vasile, 30, of Pelly Road, Plaistow, was jailed for seven years at Snaresbrook Crown Court on December 18. - Credit: MPS

A man who attacked police officers with an axe has been jailed for seven years.

Vasile Alexandru of Pelly Road, Plaistow, swung the tool through a smashed window as police were trying to force their way into a suspected brothel as part of an operation.

Officers were carrying out a search warrant at Alexandru’s home on May 20 in an operation run by the Met’s Modern Slavery and Child Exploitation unit.

Police believed the occupants were victims of modern slavery.

Officers heard loud banging from inside as they tried to get into the property at about 6.15am.

An officer - aged in his 40s - bashed the front door five times with a tool known as an enforcer, thinking someone might be getting rid of evidence or trying to escape.

The officer was hit in the face, chest, arms and hands after the glass in the window of the door shattered as he tried to remove the tool which had got stuck.

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He then saw the blade of an axe plunging down through the broken window.

Axe used in the attack

This is the axe Alexandru used in the attack. - Credit: MPS

A second officer, aged in his 30s, was hit by shards and received a puncture wound to the wrist.

Both officers saw a man with a beard through the shattered glass.

The police managed to force their way in and searched the place but the bearded man had fled.

Three women found inside the property confessed to being sex workers but claimed they were doing so of their own free will.

Alexandru, 30, was stopped minutes later nearby and arrested on suspicion of attempted grievous bodily harm and controlling prostitution.

Det Insp Nigel Penny, from Central Specialist Crime, said: “This case highlights the levels of violence that police officers and other emergency workers can face whilst in the execution of their duty.

"The message is clear that any levels of violence against our colleagues who serve the public and keep our communities safe will not be tolerated."

Alexandru was sentenced at Snaresbrook Crown Court on Friday, December 18 after pleading guilty to attempting to cause grievous bodily harm and assault on an emergency worker at the same court on October 29. He was also ordered to pay a £190 victim surcharge.

Alexandru is still under investigation in relation to his arrest for controlling prostitution.