Sunderland man attacked police officer and barricaded himself inside hospital storeroom after 'over indulgence in cannabis'

A man who attacked a police officer and barricaded himself inside a hospital storeroom during an 11-hour crime spree after an "over indulgence in cannabis" has been jailed.

Tuesday, 8th October 2019, 7:00 am
Updated Tuesday, 8th October 2019, 6:12 pm

Newcastle Crown Court heard how Karl Anderson's series of crimes began when he approached a man at his property on Ferndene Crescent in Sunderland and demanded the keys to his car at 3pm on April 18 this year.

Michael Bunch, prosecuting, said the man told him he did not have the keys, at which point Anderson, 29, took out a chef's knife.

Mr Bunch added: "Having produced the knife he said, "keys, now", but he was refused again and Anderson then fled the scene.

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Karl Anderson

The next incident occurred outside a care home in Ettrick Grove, Sunderland an hour later, during which Anderson jumped into a woman's car and demanded she get out.

Mr Bunch said the woman escaped the vehicle and dropped her keys as she fled back to the care home.

Anderson grabbed them and drove off in the vehicle, while two of her relatives shouted at him to get out.

Just 15 minutes later, Anderson entered the garden of a property in Thornhill Park, Sunderland.

Anderson asked the homeowner if he was a Christian and where the convent was, before punching his son in the face several times and shouting: "You are Christ the Redeemer."

Mr Bunch said that both father and son believed that Anderson was suffering from some kind of mental health problem or was on drugs due to his behaviour.

Anderson then went into the house where he confronted the victim's wife and grabbed a knife from the kitchen.

The woman managed to flee the house and Anderson took off with the knife while police were contacted.

Anderson was arrested at 7.30pm that evening at St Anthony's Convent in Sunderland.

The court was told how he had self-harmed and suffered cuts to his chest and wrists and was taken to the Royal Victoria Infirmary in Newcastle for treatment, accompanied by police officers.

At about 2am Mr Bunch said Anderson "began to get agitated" and then punched Pc Baines in the back of her head, knocking her to the floor leaving her with temporarily blurred vision.

He then "struck her three or four times on the back of the head", grabbed her neck and "used his grip to bang her head on one of the walls" before running off.

The police officers gave chase and Anderson ran towards the children's theatre, which was empty, and grabbed a metal pole of a mop and swung it at the officers before barricading himself inside a storeroom.

He was detained there while other officers arrived and he was taken into custody to be interviewed.

Mr Bunch read impact statements from the victims of the earlier incidents to the court in which the man whose car Anderson had tried to take had said he had been left "surprised and shocked".

The woman whose car he did take said has grandchildren and that the crime had "terrified" her.

The third victim, whose house he'd entered, added: "This is probably the most alarming thing that has ever happened to me."

Pc Baines read her victim statement to the court herself and said she had never experienced such a level of violence in her two years as a police officer.

Graeme Cook, defending pointed out that Anderson had pleaded guilty at the earliest stage.

Mr Cook said: "He credits the incidents which took place over an 11, 12 hour period to a psychotic episode caused by his over indulgence in cannabis."

He also spoke of Anderson's "clear remorse".

Mr Cook said that Anderson had been affected by the loss of his grandfather and the loss of his job last year. He added that a psychiatric report had described Anderson as having suffered a psychotic paranoid episode.

Anderson, of Kimberley Street, Sunderland, pleaded guilty to attempted robbery, possession of a bladed article, robbery, driving whilst disqualified, burglary and assault occasioning actual bodily harm at an earlier hearing.

Judge Robert Spragg said Anderson's use of drugs had made him "paranoid" and led to his mental health suffering and added that the combination of these offences were so serious that only a custodial sentence was appropriate.

He sentenced Anderson to four years, eight months imprisonment. He also disqualified him from driving for three years and ten months from the date of October 7.

Judge Spragg commended the police officer's "outstanding bravery" in dealing with the defendant in hospital.