A man has admitted attempting to murder one police officer and endangering the life of another in a brutal meat cleaver attack.

David Dowson, 26, pleaded guilty to attempting to murder Pc Josh McCorry by striking him with the weapon outside his home in Wishaw, North Lanarkshire, in June last year.

He was originally charged with attempting to murder both officers but his plea was accepted to the lesser charge of assaulting Pc Glenn Coletta to his severe injury, permanent disfigurement and danger of life.

The High Court in Glasgow heard the officers were “terrified and feared for their lives” during the assault.

Advocate depute Margaret Barr said Dowson shouted: “Aye I chopped your cops up with a cleaver,” as he was put in a police van following the attack.

She said the two officers were on duty and were returning a child to the block of flats where Dowson lived at Greenfield Drive at around 10.10pm on June 14, but this matter was not related to him.

As they struggled to enter the secure close, Dowson approached them and said he would take the child since he knew him, before telling the officers: “I’ll put holes in both of you.”

He was warned about his behaviour and allowed Pc Coletta, aged 24 at the time, access to the close before pulling out the meat cleaver, raising it over his head and swinging at the officer’s face.

Pc Coletta blocked the blow with his hand, and was severely injured.

Ms Barr said Pc McCorry then entered the close and Dowson punched him and then brought the cleaver down full force towards his head, causing him to fall into the wall and then the ground.

He kept swinging the weapon at the officer, making contact at least once.

Ms Barr said: “The officers describe being terrified. They were both in fear of their lives during this sustained attack.”

One officer managed to escape through the door while the other jumped out a window to get away.

Reinforcements arrived and Dowson complied when he was told to lie on the ground, before being handcuffed and placed in a police van.

As he was being removed, he shouted to members of the public: “Cops tried to come into my house without a warrant. I went at them with a meat cleaver.

“Aye, I chopped up your cops with a cleaver.”

Ms Barr said Dowson continued to act aggressively within the van, resulting in a head injury which required hospital treatment.

Pc McCorry, 23 at the time of the attack, had the tip of his right thumb sliced off and suffered a 3cm cut to the top of his head. He returned to work after two-and-a-half months.

Speaking about the incident, the court heard he said: “I actually just feel lucky to be alive. I thought I was going to die.”

Pc Coletta required surgery to a severe injury to his right hand, which has left scarring. He was off work for four-and-a-half months.

The court heard he said: “Thinking back on it is sickening. It actually keeps me awake at night thinking about what happened.

“I’m lucky to be alive.”

Dowson’s defence lawyer, Tony Graham QC, said: “He accepts that there can be no excuse for his behaviour.”

He said it is a credit to both officers that they returned to active service after the “terrifying” incident.

The court heard Dowson has seven previous convictions, including for assault to severe injury, permanent disfigurement and danger of life.

Judge Lady Stacey told Dowson the charges he admitted are “very serious” and deferred sentence until May 6 for social work reports.