Man swung claw hammer at police officer, court hears

Burnley Magistrates Court

Burnley Magistrates Court

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A Colne man terrorised police, swung a claw hammer at an officer’s head and made repeated death threats, a court heard.

Christopher Booth (48), who has served time for assault, had refused to let police into his then home and had been “going crazy”.

His behaviour was so violent, two experienced officers were scared and convinced they would be harmed. One of them described his frightening outburst as “inhumane and unacceptable” Burnley magistrates were told.

Booth, who gave his address in court as Sterling Crescent, Bradford, when he appeared from the cells, admitted affray on October 30th and will be sentenced at a later date.

Prosecutor Mr Andrew Robinson said Booth used “very serious violent behaviour against two police officers” who attended the property in Colne.

His partner had wanted to end their relationship and Booth had been persuaded to leave. At about 6-10pm, she returned to the house to see the lights and TV on. She believed he was inside and was very upset and almost in tears.

Mr Robinson said when police attended again, Booth was in the property, shouting and swearing and refused to leave. He yelled: “If anyone comes through the door, you are going to get killed.”

An officer heard keys turn in the lock, tried to push the door open and managed to get it partially open. The defendant then swung a claw hammer at him and threatened: “I’m going to kill you.”

Mr Robinson said Booth hit the inside of the door with the hammer, was told to put it down, refused and shouted at the police: “You are not coming in. If you do you’re going to get seriously hurt.”

The defendant eventually said he would put the weapon down and the door was forced to try and knock him off balance.

Booth was still shouting abuse and kicking out. He lashed out, called the officers names and wouldn’t give them his arms.

The prosecutor added: “He continued to shout and swear and whilst he was being led away, he spat towards the officers.”

Miss Laura Heywood (defending) said he and his then partner lived together. They had argued, he had left the previous night, she had been staying with her daughter and he had arranged with a friend to move to Bradford.

The friend couldn’t collect him until the next day, so he decided to stay at the Colne property for the night and gather his possessions.

Miss Heywood said it seemed she returned and called the police. She said: “He then accepts his actions were unreasonable. He didn’t want to be arrested. He says it’s his house, he wanted to stay for the night and why can’t he do so?”

“He apologises for his actions. He hasn’t struck any of the police officers and it’s significant that none of them had any injuries. Police asked him to put the hammer down and he did so. That’s when the police have entered.”