A DRUG dealer who slashed the throat of an undercover police officer attempting to arrest him has been jailed for five years.

Aaron Gray and two other men attacked the officer when he grabbed hold of the defendant after he was spotted making a drug deal.

The officer was held in a choke hold from behind while being threatened that ‘he had messed with the wrong man’ before Gray putting a knife to his throat and dragging it across his neck, leaving a four-inch wound.

Teesside Crown Court heard how the three men then continued to kick and punch the officer after he called for back-up from colleagues on June 19 last year.

Uzma Khan, prosecuting, said the undercover officer identified before trying to arrest Gray for dealing drugs before being attacked by three or four people on Athol Street in Middlesbrough.

She said: "Someone from behind chokes him and he is being held to the floor and hears someone say to him 'you have picked the wrong f***ing person to do this with'.

"They continue holding onto his arms and it is at this point that the defendant manages to get on top of him and recalls the knife being thrust towards his neck.

"This knife is placed upon his neck and the knife is pulled upwards causing a four-inch laceration. He remembers being punched to the face by one of the males and repeatedly kicked to the legs."

The Northern Echo: Aaron GrayAaron Gray

The court heard how the attack had left the officer 'genuinely' believing he was going to die.

Gray, of Albany Street, Middlesbrough, pleaded guilty to assault occasioning actual bodily harm and possession of an offensive weapon on the day his trial was due to start earlier this week.

He also pleaded guilty to possession of a Class a drug and possession of an offensive weapon from an earlier incident on May 12 when he was caught selling crack cocaine on Peel Street in Middlesbrough.

Gray was carrying a Samurai sword with a 60cm blade at the time of his arrest.

Paul Abrahams, in mitigation, urged the judge to pass as short a sentence as possible following his guilty pleas.

He said: "He accepts this is a custodial sentence, it's quite clearly a nasty offence."

Recorder Martin Rose sentenced him to a total of five years for all charges.

He said: “You took from your waistband, a knife you had hidden on you, and whilst straddling over him you struck out at his neck with that knife – missing.

"But then you deliberately dragged the knife along his neck causing a laceration.

"It is no thanks to you that it was only a skin deep laceration.

"Having read the officer's victim impact statement it is clear that it has been hugely traumatic and has had a mental impact on him and his partner."

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