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Terrifying moment police officer Jacob Vella stabbed in throat

A court has heard the harrowing account of a police officer who had to rush a bloody colleague out of a house after he was allegedly slashed across the throat with a makeshift spear.

The trial of Rory James Constantino, 30, continued on Monday after he pleaded not guilty to with intent to resist or prevent the arrest of his father Ricky Constantino at their southwestern Sydney home in 2019.

The Sadleir resident has also denied a back-up charge of recklessly wounding a police officer and causing him actual bodily harm.

DOWNING CENTRE
Camera IconRory James Constantino allegedly stabbed Constable Jacob Vella in the neck during the attempted dawn arrest of his father. Gaye Gerard / NCA NewsWire Credit: News Corp Australia

On June 11, 2019, Constable Jacob Vella and his colleague arrived before dawn with a warrant to arrest Ricky Constantino after he failed to appear in court.

The court was told the officers were wearing black hooded jumpers and dark jeans when they arrived in an unmarked car at the Constantino home in Sadleir.

Senior constable Grant Koschel gave evidence he banged on the front door and window and announced himself as police.

When the younger Constantino came to the door, the court was told he was suspicious that the men weren’t actually officers.

“We were having a face-to-face conversation and he said ‘I don’t believe you are the police’,” Constable Koschel said.

The officer showed Mr Constantino his badge through the partially opened door and again asked where to find his father.

DOWNING CENTRE
Camera IconMr Constantino is on bail. Gaye Gerard / NCA NewsWire Credit: News Corp Australia

“I’m not leaving until I get Ricky,” Constable Koschel said, the court was told.

The court heard the officer had his foot in the door so Mr Constantino couldn’t slam the door shut and called out to Constable Vella. His colleague came around to the front of the house and kicked the front door off its hinges, the court was told.

Constable Koschel told the court that he was “somewhat” surprised when Constable Vella kicked down the door, but “these things happen in the heat of the moment”.

The court was told Mr Constantino retreated down the hallway and Constable Vella launched himself over the flattened door to follow him.

“It happened within seconds,” Constable Koschel said.

“I wasn’t expecting it.”

When the constable followed a moment later, the court heard he saw his colleague follow Mr Constantino into a room of “complete darkness”.

Rory Constantino (left) and Rick Constantino (right) were both in their Sadlier home when police arrived on June 11, 2019.
Camera IconRory Constantino (left) and Rick Constantino (right) were both in their Sadlier home when police arrived on June 11, 2019. Credit: Supplied

However, Constable Koschel said his attention was drawn away from his colleague by the appearance of the older Constantino wielding a baseball bat.

He said Ricky Constantino, who was the subject of the arrest warrant, declared he didn’t accept that the man was an officer.

“I don’t believe you, prove it,” he reportedly said to Constable Koschel.

The officer was in the midst of producing his identification again when he heard Constable Vella shout “I’ve been stabbed”.

Police allege Mr Constantino slashed the officer across the throat with a makeshift spear. According to police, he missed hitting a major artery by only 1mm.

Constable Koschel said he rushed towards his colleague and escorted the bleeding man out of the house.

Daily Telegraph
Camera IconConstable Jacob Vella was hospitalised after being stabbed. NSW Police Credit: Supplied

“My primary focus was just to get him out of there and to render aid,” Constable Koschel said.

“I was quite rattled and shocked. I’d seen my colleague sustain some pretty serious injuries.”

Although Mr Constantino admits to stabbing and wounding the police officer, the trial will examine whether he did so to prevent his father’s arrest or whether police were acting in execution of their duty.

Constable Vella is expected to give evidence when the trial resumes before Judge Sarah Huggett on Tuesday.

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