Knife-wielding man sparked armed stand off with Durham police

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A MAN sparked a four hour stand-off with armed police after brandishing a knife.

Stuart Powell threw household items from his first floor flat at police below, Durham Crown Court heard.

“Among the items thrown was food and kitchen equipment,” said Liam O’Brien, prosecuting. “At one point Powell attempted to throw a fridge through the kitchen window, but it was too big.

“No police were injured as they were wearing protective clothing.”

The court heard Powell had earlier enjoyed a night at his local club with his partner.

Mr O’Brien added: “They returned home and for no apparent reason his behaviour changed.

“He pushed his partner from behind and she fled from the flat.

“People in the flat below heard the commotion and called the police.

“Powell brandished a knife in the stairwell, and there followed a stand-off for about four hours.

“In that time Powell took some tablets, so when police did eventually enter they found him asleep.”

Powell, 36, of A J Cook Terrace, Shotton Colliery, admitted affray, common assault, and criminal damage, all on November 9.

Glen Gatland, defending said in mitigation: “Mr Powell does have some mental health difficulties.

“He is at a loss to explain his behaviour, he wonders if his drink was spiked.

“His partner is standing by him.”

The Recorder, Mr Euan Duff, sentenced Powell to six months imprisonment, suspended for two years, and a two-year supervision order, including a mental health treatment provision.

Recorder Duff told Powell: “I don’t know what caused this outburst.

“I am satisfied this was not a case of a grievance building up and you deciding to take it out on your partner and the wider community.

“The cause was something bizarre, either a function of your mental health problem, or possibly a spiked drink.

“You do bear some responsibility and you have spent what has been your first month in prison on remand, so that is the punishment.

“Make sure you take the help you will be offered, and make sure you don’t come back here.”