Hospital order for Samurai sword siege man

Police at the siege in Sherburn Village.
Police at the siege in Sherburn Village.
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A SWORDSMAN who hid an arsenal of weapons around his home and sparked a siege when bailiffs arrived to evict him has been given a hospital order.

Gareth Bowen had make a series of online threats against his mortgage lender HSBC in the weeks leading up to his eviction, warning they would be dealt with like “Nazi Germany and other invading foes”.

He said while he did not want to kill anyone, he urged them not to “invade my land and take my home by force”, using Twitter and a website to spread his message.

Police were called to assist when the bailiffs, locksmith and estate agent arrived at the house in Railway Close, Sherburn Village, on the morning of March 30, to carry out the eviction.

When officers went to the rear of the property, they saw Bowen, who had a history of mental health problems, standing with a samurai sword.

Christopher Rose, prosecuting at Durham Crown Court, said: “There followed seven hours of negotiations with the defendant and at about 6.30pm, after officers made an entry in through the rear of the property they were confronted by the defendant swinging a sword.

“They attempted to taser to subdue the defendant, but initially proved to have no effect.”

The court heard how three officers were injured in the scuffle, with one receiving a cut to his lip and another a wound to his hand.

The third officer suffered a cut to his leg, with coins in his pocket stopping the sword from causing more damage.

Each received medical treatment, but were not seriously hurt.

Bowen, who worked in IT, was first taken to the University Hospital of North Durham and then Roseberry Park Hospital, in Middlesbrough, where he is staying.

The court was told he was not well enough to be interviewed about what happened until October.

The defendant said he had been feeling suicidal and thought the police were there to kill him.

After the incident, police found weapons around the house, including knives, another sword and an imitation firearm.

The 35-year-old admitted assault occasioning actual bodily harm and affray.

Reports by two psychologists agreed Bowen suffers from schizophrenia, with Judge Peter Kelson QC agreeing to a hospital order, which will run until experts at the hospital say he is well enough to be released.

The judge told him: “It is designed to help protect society as much as help you.”