Mother who was attacked by off-duty police officer says resignation is ‘cowardly’
Written by Hit Music Radio News on 24/03/2021
A mother-of-two who was attacked by an off duty police officer while walking home alone at night says it’s “cowardly” that he has resigned.
Emma Homer, 37, was assaulted in the early hours of 26 July in the Warwickshire village of Bidford-on-Avon by probationary officer Oliver Banfield.
Last Friday, the 25-year-old, who was employed by West Midlands Police, was handed a 14-week curfew sentence, banning him from leaving his house between 7pm and 7am. He was later suspended.
Last night the force said it had accepted his resignation.
“It’s kind of cowardly in a way if you ask me because I think he’s obviously hoping to make it go away,” Mrs Homer told Sky News
“But obviously the misconduct investigation is still going to go ahead.”
Deputy Chief Constable Vanessa Jardine said the former PC will face that investigation “in the near future” and promised to “make the outcome of that hearing public as soon as I can”.
Mrs Homer said: “I do hope West Midlands Police look a little deeper into who they employ, why was there such an aggressive man employed to be an officer to protect us? How much did they actually look into before they’re employing these people to protect our streets?”
Banfield is caught on CCTV attacking Mrs Homer, and can be heard shouting “on the floor now!” before a woman he was with is seen crossing the road and intervening, calling out “Olly, Olly, Olly”.
Mrs Homer explained: “I was two doors away from my house, I could see my bedroom window and my partner was at home with the children asleep and as he’s trying to get me on the floor in a headlock.
“I remember looking up and just thinking ‘oh my god I can’t believe this is happening what do I do? Do I shout?’
“Then at that point his other half took him off me and I ran in the house and I was in pure shock all night thinking how am I going to explain what just happened to me?
“He thought I was following him, he was very drunk, he was very aggressive.
“At that point he started walking with his partner – she reassured me he was just drunk and she was apologising for him – and at that point he came back on me screaming at my face ‘why are you following me?’
“So I pushed him as anybody would. His glasses fell on the floor. For him that really aggravated him.
“Then you saw what you see he’s pulling me back starting to live out this fantasy movie cop film, it’s weird.
“I thought he was pretending to be a police officer so obviously you can imagine the shock when it came to light he was a real police officer.
“I think it’s about power, about living the dream kind of thing, he’d even got his phone out as if he was calling for backup and it was like he was like a little boy trying to be a police officer, he had me round the neck kicking me, ‘get on the floor!’.”
Mrs Homer said that after reporting the assault she had to “fight for a reaction” from the investigating force, Warwickshire Police, which has since personally apologised for delays in the investigation.
Initially, the CPS said there wasn’t enough evidence to bring a prosecution, but Mrs Homer appealed, further inquiries were made, and Banfield was charged.
He later pleaded guilty to assault by beating.
“I had to keep push, push, pushing,” Mrs Homer said.
” had to find out all of the information. I found out about him myself. I found out where he lived. I gave that to the police.
“I found out that it was an officer and what force he worked for. I did all that.”
Mrs Homer, an auction administrator, said she felt “anxious” that her attacker lives so close to her. She’d previously never met him.
“He drives past my house nearly every day. Whether he’s resigned or not it doesn’t alter the fact that he’s only a few yards down the road from my house.”
© Sky News 2020