House siege swordman who went ‘beserk’ is jailed

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A 30-year-old man who sparked a stand-off with armed police after going “beserk” at his Halifax home has been jailed for 20 months.

Bradford Crown Court heard yesterday how police officers were called by Kieron Cassidy’s concerned mother after he stopped taking his medication for mental health problems and started hallucinating.

Cassidy, who had a history drug addiction, had been threatening to cut his own head off with a sword he was carrying and when two officers arrived at the house in Ovenden Way they saw various family members trying to diffuse the situation by telling him to drop the weapon.

Prosecutor Gillian Batts said a number of firearms officers attended the scene of the lunchtime incident on May 27 and during the subsequent stand-off Cassidy was seen at an upstairs window shouting at police.

“The firearms officers that attended described seeing the defendant in an agitated and angry state,” said Miss Batts.

“He was making various comments about the Pakistani community and immigrants and also throwing various items out of the house.”

Miss Batts said Cassidy continued to make threats and claimed to have various guns and a suicide bomb.

“He said that if officers came in they would get a big surprise,” said Miss Batts.

At one stage Cassidy was seen with what looked like a black handgun, which later turned out to be a broken BB gun. After repeated calls for him to drop the weapon Cassidy eventually did so and Miss Batts said he was arrested after being tasered by police.

Cassidy, who was recalled to prison to serve a previous sentence after the incident, pleaded guilty to a charge of affray. A further allegation relating to his possession of an imitation firearm with intent to cause fear of violence was ordered to be left on file.

Barrister Frida Hussain, for Cassidy, conceded that his mental health issues appeared to be related to his drugs misuse which began when he was about 11 or 12.

“Fortunately nobody was harmed,” she submitted.

“He used unpleasant language, to put it mildly, but in short he was not in his right mind at the time.”

Miss Hussain referred to a letter from Cassidy’s mother in which she described how her son had stopped taking his medication and she had tried without success to contact the mental health team.

“She was terrified at the time because he was delusional and hallucinating,” said Miss Hussain.

Jailing Cassidy for the affray Judge David Hatton QC said he had essentially gone beserk at his home and the emergency services and firearms officers had to be called.

“I acknowledge and take into account that you were not in your right mind at the time, not having taken your medication, but I have to have regard, in addition to that, to the protection of others,” said the judge. He added that Cassidy’s actions had caused fear to many people and a real apprehension of danger.