Police officer who was shot in the face three times while protecting an elderly couple in Desborough has been given a bravery award

Northamptonshire Police Sergeant Dave Cayton was presented with a Regional Award at The National Police Bravery Awards, following attendance at a reception at Downing Street

By News Reporter
Friday, 10th December 2021, 11:05 am
Martin Hewitt and Sgt Dave Cayton
Martin Hewitt and Sgt Dave Cayton

A police officer who was shot in the face three times while protecting an elderly couple in Desborough has been recognised for his courage at The National Police Bravery Awards.

Northamptonshire Police Sergeant Dave Cayton was presented with a Regional Award by Martin Hewitt from the National Police Chiefs’ Council at an event in Central London last night (Thursday), following attendance at a reception at Downing Street.

In November 2020, Sgt Cayton attended a call after elderly parents asked for help with their son, Marshall Coe, who was having a mental health crisis. On his own, with back-up resources still some distance away, the officer tried to speak to the man and check on his welfare.

As Sgt Cayton was on the stairs, Coe pointed a handgun at him, but Sgt Cayton continued to put himself between the man and his vulnerable parents. Sgt Cayton armed his Taser device, then heard a loud crack and felt intense pain as he was shot in the face. He managed to fire the Taser but it was not successful and Coe continued to fire shots into the officer’s face and arms.

Despite suffering from substantial injuries and intense pain, Sgt Cayton followed his training and tried to disengage and withdraw, retreating down the stairs. Coe followed him, carrying a gun and a large hunting knife.

Sgt Cayton used his incapacitant spray and Coe dropped his weapon. Despite having significant facial injuries and bleeding heavily, he managed to restrain and handcuff Coe.

It transpired that Coe’s weapon was a high-powered ball bearing pistol. Sgt Cayton was taken to hospital where he underwent painful medical procedures to remove a number of ball bearings from his face and head, some of which were perilously close to causing life-changing injury.

Marshall Coe was charged with wounding with intent and being in possession of a firearm with intent to cause fear of violence, and in May he was sentenced to 11 years in prison.

At the end of the court case, His Honour Judge Rupert Mayo recommended Sgt Cayton for “the highest possible commendation” from the Chief Constable.

Sgt Cayton said of the attack: “Everything slowed down. The best way I can explain it is the fight or flight choice, and I genuinely believe you don’t get to choose which one your body decides on.

“At that exact moment I think that’s where the benefit of being a police officer and the training you receive and the morals that you have, come into play. So my body’s reaction was: I need to fight, I need to defend myself and I need to protect the other people in this property.”

Sam Dobbs, chair of Northamptonshire Police Federation, said: “Running into danger, placing yourself between the threatened and the threatener, protecting people from harm and protecting life are all themes quoted as being in the best traditions of policing.

“Sgt Cayton embodied all these finest principles, as well as showing the utmost courage, when he was first on the scene of a police officer’s worst nightmare – an armed man intent on causing harm. We all salute Dave’s actions.”

Chief Constable Nick Adderley said: “Despite having been shot in the face, several times, he continued to tackle and arrest his attacker, protecting two elderly persons at risk. So well deserved. So incredibly proud.”