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Faversham dad Christopher Smith spared jail after sparking armed siege in Larksfield Road

A drunken father armed with knives and an axe told police he had a death wish and would blow up his Faversham home during a four hour siege. 
 
The alarm had been raised by Christopher Smith’s wife Lisa who saw his suicidal state on her mobile phone in another county.
 
Mrs Smith later accused the police of overreacting by sending in a “Swat team looking like Darth Vader”.
Armed police at the siege. Picture Gerry Warren

Armed police at the siege. Picture: Gerry Warren

 
Her 50-year-old husband had threatened to attack officers with the weapons and told them: “I have a death wish. Shoot me.”
 
Smith was remanded in custody following his arrest on April 26 and was released on Tuesday when a judge decided he had spent long enough in custody.
 
He was sentenced to a community order with two years supervision and alcohol treatment for six months after admitting affray and criminal damage.
 
Prosecutor Paul Valder said Mrs Smith had gone to Hampshire where the couple’s daughter was at university.
 
She called the police when she saw him smashing up furniture at their council home in Larksfield Road while they were talking in a video call via Facetime on the Saturday lunchtime.
 
A large police presence on the North Preston estate in Faversham

A large police presence on the North Preston estate in Faversham

 
“She told police he was in effect smashing the place up and threatening to blow it up,” said Mr Valder.
 
Three officers went to the scene and saw that a double glazed window had been broken. They tried to talk to Smith but he told them to “---- off”.
 
“You had better make sure you have stab vests on. I will stab you if you try to come in here” - Christopher Smith
 
He said it was his property and he was not letting anybody in. He made threats telling the officers: “You had better make sure you have stab vests on. I will stab you if you try to come in here.”
 
He picked up a 12in long knife and warned he had many others. He took off sunglasses to reveal black eyes and bruises.
 
He disappeared from sight, returned armed with an axe and knocked glass out of the broken window with it.
 
“Anybody who tries to come in here will get this,” he warned. “It will take more than you three to deal with me.”
 
The officers called for back-up and an armed squad, negotiators and dog handlers arrived. A cordon was set up and neighbours were evacuated.
 
A four-hour stand-off ensued. Smith threw the axe and two knives out of a window.
 
He asked marksmen what he needed to do to get shot. The siege finally ended when his brother arrived and persuaded him to surrender.
 
Smith, who had cautions for being drunk and disorderly and obstructing police, was arrested and taken to hospital.
 
He later admitted feeling embarrassed and guilty about what he had done, but said he had been very low and wanted to die.
 
Police at the scene of the four-hour siege where Christopher Smith was detained

Police at the scene of the four-hour siege where Christopher Smith was detained

 
Judge Michael Carroll cut short mitigation having heard Smith had spent the equivalent of a 10-month sentence in custody on remand.
 
“There is an awareness that alcohol is the main trigger,” he said. “He has other difficulties. They can be addressed by a community order with an alcohol treatment requirement.
 
“We can’t have people going around with weapons and behaving in that way, trying to provoke officers into shooting him - although, of course, he was under the influence of alcohol at the time.”
 
The judge told Smith: “Your behaviour was quite outrageous and criminal.
 
"Because your partner had left you to visit your daughter in another county, you resorted to drink and became violent towards property and police officers carrying out their duty.”
 
He added: “You have had time to reflect and shown remorse. I can now take, perhaps, a lenient course in all the circumstances.
 
“I bear in mind weapons were wielded towards police officers.”
 
Judge Carroll warned Smith if he breached the order his starting point would be 15 months imprisonment.
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