Commendation for police officer who disarmed man wielding an axe

Essex Police Constable Steven Aspinall receives a commendation from Essex Police Chief Constable BJ Harrington

Police Constable Steven Aspinall, who disarmed a man with an axe in Braintree, receives the Commendation from Essex Police Chief Constable BJ Harrington - Credit: Essex Police

A police constable who actions stopped a man charging at officers with a raised axe has received a commendation from Essex Police Chief Constable Ben-Julian Harrington.

PC Steven Aspinall and a colleague were called to provide armed backup at an incident in Braintree.

Tomasz Twardziszewski had broken into an address he had been previously evicted from. He was armed with an axe and was threatening to kill the occupants.

When police arrived, Twardziszewski was at the front door, covered in his own blood. He had forced his way through internal doors and the occupants feared for their safety.

PC Aspinall and a colleague from the Force Support Unit cleared the property and found Twardziszewski in a garden shed.

The officers called to Twardziszewski to drop the weapon, but he emerged from the shed and charged at them with the axe raised.

PC Aspinall took a single shot with a baton gun. This dislodged the axe and allowed officers to restrain and arrest him.

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Twardziszewski, then aged 44 and of no fixed address, was prosecuted for making threats to kill, affray and criminal damage. He was sentenced to two years and six months in prison at Chelmsford Crown Court. 

It is PC Aspinall's third commendation. He previously disarmed a suspect in Brentwood High Street and administered CPR to a man who had suffered a heart attack. 

Reflecting on the events in Braintree, PC Aspinall said: “We went out to the garden and he (Twardziszewski) was smashing and banging around in the shed. We called his name and that was enough to bring him out. He came out brandishing the axe with, I guess, the intention of bashing one of us.” 

PC Aspinall said the swift conclusion to the incident was down to the preparation officers do for such events.

 “We were just doing our job. It happened so fast that you don’t really get time to think. It’s testimony to the training we do. We train a lot and that’s why, it helps you make the right decisions.” 

Chief Constable Ben-Julian Harrington paid tribute to the officer. 

He said: “PC Aspinall’s bravery and quick-thinking when confronted by a man who had the potential to do a great deal of harm was exceptional.

 “In the face of extreme danger, he put the safety of others ahead of his own wellbeing and his decisive actions brought an end to what had been an extremely serious incident where the lives of a number of people were threatened. This was police work at its best.”