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Police attack man 'feared for his life' Three hurt as panicking fugitive escaped in car.

Byline: By Shenai Raif

A FUGITIVE Black Country conman, accused of injuring three police officers with his car as he escaped, claimed he feared for his life, a court heard.

Rashpal Singh, from Gladstone Street, West Bromwich, told police he did not know the officers who surrounded his car were police.

He said: "I panicked. I thought it was either someone out to kill me or the police."

Asked again in an interview if he thought they were police, Singh said: "That was only a slight consideration."

Alex Lewis, prosecuting, told the Old Bailey that Singh, 43, reversed and sped off, sending Det Con Catherine Corbett flying after being caught in the police trap.

She had been leaning over to speak to Singh's wife and was struck by the car's open passenger door. Miss Lewis said: "She was scooped up and catapulted backwards. He went on to ram the police car behind him and then the police car in front. He continued to hit two other officers who were on foot before he managed to effect his escape."

Ms Lewis said the two officers had only minor injuries but DC Corbett was treated in hospital for a fractured skull and severe head injury. Singh, who had escaped from prison 11 months earlier, drove off but was recaptured later. She alleged Singh had used his vehicle, a Peugeot 207, to avoid capture near Heathrow airport by officers from the West Midlands in November 2007.

Singh denies causing grievous bodily harm with intent, two counts of actual bodily harm and dangerous driving.

Singh, who had around 25 aliases, had been jailed for six-and-a-half years in November 2005 in Birmingham for 13 offences of deception and for failing to surrender.

He had also been given a further three years jail if he failed to meet a pounds 200,000 confiscation order, she told the court.

But in December 2006, he was allowed a day release from prison in Redditch, Worcs, but failed to return by 2pm.

While on the run, he had married a Polish woman and officers learned she worked at a hotel in Bath Road near the airport.

Miss Lewis said six officers lay in wait for him as he dropped her off at work. Singh was later recaptured after being spotted driving in Birmingham. He claimed not to have seen DC Corbett. DC Corbett, 40, was left with memory loss and a speech impairment, the court heard.

(Proceeding)

CAPTION(S):

Victim: Det Con Catherine Corbett.
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Publication:Birmingham Mail (England)
Date:Jan 8, 2009
Words:415
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