Police officer stabbed with crude, homemade ‘spear’

A young constable needed major surgery after he was stabbed in the neck with a makeshift spear as he tried to arrest a man at a home in south western Sydney today.

Constable Jacob Vella, 24, and his partner were executing an arrest warrant for a 58-year-old man at a home in Heckenberg Ave, Sadleir, just before 7am on Tuesday, when Const. Vella was allegedly attacked.

The bloodshed prompted a furious response from the NSW Police Force and the police union, who say more than 50 officers were being assaulted every week.

Constable Jacob Vella remains in a serious but stable condition. Picture: NSW Police
Constable Jacob Vella remains in a serious but stable condition. Picture: NSW Police

As Const. Vella, who joined the Police Force in April 2017, tried to arrest the 58-year-old man on outstanding offences, the man's son Rory Constantino, 27, allegedly came at Const. Vella with the crude spear, slashing him across the neck and arm.

The officer stumbled out of the house clutching his neck and screaming for help before he collapsed near the road.

His partner arrested Constantino and called for backup.

Police examind the home where an officer was attacked early on Tuesday morning. Picture: Tim Hunter
Police examind the home where an officer was attacked early on Tuesday morning. Picture: Tim Hunter

Both police officers were in plain clothes at the time of the incident.

Istana Sleiman, 20, lives opposite the home and woke to Const. Vella's bloodcurdling screams.

"I heard lots of screaming going on. I saw a man on the floor, he was struggling to get up there was blood all over the floor, there was blood all over his hands," Ms Sleiman said.

"He got a towel, I don't know what it was, a top, and wrapped it around his neck and screamed for help.

"I did not even know it was a police officer, he was dressed casually."

She added the house seemed "sketchy" and there were always cars coming and going.

Constantino and his father were taken to Liverpool Police Station for questioning.

Const. Vella was rushed to Liverpool Hospital for emergency surgery and remained there in a serious but stable condition.

Crude....The homemade weapon.
Crude....The homemade weapon.

Police forensic crews examined the bloody scene and spoke to a third, older man who was home at the time of the alleged attack.

Forensic officers at scene of attack.
Forensic officers at scene of attack.

NSW Police Assistant Commissioner Peter Thurtell said he was disturbed by the events and described Const. Vella as a "fine young officer".

"The weapon that was used to stab the police officer was a crude homemade weapon which comprised of a steel shaft on the end of a wooden stick, as I said it was a crude weapon," Assistant Commissioner Thurtell said.

"We've seen a number of incidents where officers have been threatened or wounded, I've said before it is a dangerous profession, there are people out there who don't respect the police uniform and think it is all right to attack officers."

Police at the scene of the stabbing in Heckenberg Avenue. Picture: 7 News Sydney
Police at the scene of the stabbing in Heckenberg Avenue. Picture: 7 News Sydney

Police Association NSW president Tony King said it was "gut-wrenching" to hear about the attack.

"There certainly seems to be a rise in disrespect and assaults towards police," he said.

"When you look at the last couple of months, we had a stabbing in central, we had another police woman seriously assaulted at Kogarah, we had several police officers seriously assaulted at up in the Hunter, and on average 50 officers are assaulted each week."

Earlier this month, four police were assaulted in one 24-hour period, including a female constable being kicked in the face and a male constable being grabbed by the throat.

Jodie Pritchard, who lives on the street, said she saw the police while she was having a cigarette this morning.

"I saw one man with handcuffs on held by police out the front of the house," Ms Pritchard said.

"I'm not sure how it happened you just heard all these sirens. Then I looked out the window and saw police with this man.

"I did not know him but I've only been in this house for 12 months. Police sirens are pretty common around here."

Inquiries are continuing.