A teenage robbery suspect has admitted to a barbaric machete attack in Handsworth which left a police dog with such brutal injuries that the handler feared the dog might die.

The 16-year-old boy – who is too young to be legally named – appeared in Birmingham Youth Court on 1 December where he pleaded guilty to possessing a bladed weapon and causing unnecessary suffering to a service animal.

Dog handler PC Paul Hopley was on the trail of suspected burglars at 4am on Saturday 14 November when a teenager emerged from his hiding place inside an allotments, in the Handsworth area of Birmingham, and lunged at police dog Stark with a machete.

The court heard how the teenager struck three-year-old police dog Stark “over 20 times” with a rusty machete during the arrest.

Shaved and stitched, police dog Stark is recovering from the vicious machete attack by a teenager

The court also heard how PC Hopley told the 16-year-old – who lives in Handsworth –to put down his weapon which he initially thought was a stick. The ‘stick’ turned out to be a machete.

Prosecutor Angela Hallam said the courageous dog was lucky to survive the feral machete attack from the teenager who “struck him in excess of 20 times”.

“Despite being told numerous times to put the weapon down he continued to swing the machete wildly,” she told the court.

Stark suffered nasty cuts to his face, with one blow narrowly missing an eye. The horrific injuries inflicted by the teenager were so savage that PC Hopley “feared the worst” and thought his brave sidekick would be killed or maimed for life.

Stark, a German shepherd and Belgian Malinois cross, was sedated after the attack and underwent surgery to stitch the wounds on both sides of his face.

Police dog Stark, pictured with handler PC Paul Hopley, has made a good recovery from the machete attack

PC Hopley, said: “When I saw the wounds so close to Stark’s eye I feared the worst. I thought he could have been blinded in that eye.”

The teenage attacker pleaded guilty to possessing a bladed weapon and causing unnecessary suffering to a service animal at Birmingham Youth Court.

He was bailed and is set to be sentenced on 23 December.


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