'I'll shoot off your kneecaps': Delusional armed Dover man Paul O'Brien jailed for kidnapping council building services inspector Alan Edwards
Paul O'Brien has been jailed for three years
A council building services inspector has revealed the moment he came face-to-face with a man armed with a knife and crossbow.
Alan Edwards, 61, had gone to do routine maintenance work in a block of flats in Friars Way in Dover.
The next minute he was confronted by delusional 52-year-old Paul O'Brien, who started making bizarre accusations.
Mr Edwards was frogmarched to O'Brien's flat and during his 30-minute ordeal threatened he would have his kneecaps shot off.
"I must admit it was very frightening," he said after the hearing.. "I have never experienced anything like this in my life."
It was then "an angel" appeared at the door in the shape of brave neighbour Sara Neal.
She talked O'Brien into lowering his weapon and allowed the inspector to escape and alert the police.
Mr Edwards said: "I have never been so relieved to see someone's face! She was so calm. I am so grateful to her.
"Since this incident I have suffered panic attacks, but I have returned to work."
Mr Edwards was not able to thank her in person because of the court case – but now plans to visit Ms Neal with a bouquet of flowers.
She has also been commended by Judge Adele Williams and will receive a £300 High Sheriff of Kent Award for bravery.
O'Brien pleaded guilty to kidnapping, false imprisonment and possessing drugs and was jailed for three years.
Prosecutor Alastair Walker told Canterbury Crown Court how Mr Edwards had gone to the flats to ensure the entrance button was working correctly.
He said: "He became aware of a man standing behind him holding a knife. The defendant asked Mr Edwards who he was. He said that he was from the council.
"But O'Brien then shouted: 'You are not... you are the man who has been messing with the electrics in the building.'
"You are not going away. You are coming upstairs with me. I am not afraid to cut you with this..."
"He then demanded he go with him to his flat."
Mr Edwards then suggested the pair go to his car where he could get his identification.
But the knifeman retorted: "You are not going away. You are coming upstairs with me. I am not afraid to cut you with this."
Mr Walker said O'Brien then locked the door and picked up a crossbow and pointed it at the council official.
He then claimed the room was bugged and waved a device around the room, which then buzzed, the prosecutor revealed.
It was then Ms Neal arrived and managed to calm O'Brien down and allowed Mr Edwards to escape.
Judge Adele Williams presided over the case
Philip Rowley, defending, said O'Brien had a history of mental illness and misuse of illegal drugs.
"At the time of this incident he was suffering a psychotic incident," he added. "He was a lonely and isolated man."
Judge Adele Williams told him: "This was a terrifying ordeal for your victim.
"You locked the door and you produced a crossbow and threatened him with it by pointing it at him and threatening to shoot his kneecaps. Mercifully, a neighbour then arrived."
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