Glasgow & West Scotland

Man jailed for firing crossbow at police during siege

Christopher Hutchison Image copyright Spindrift
Image caption Hutchison fired at officers from a window of his home

A man who shot a police officer with crossbow during a police siege at a house in South Lanarkshire has been jailed for eight years.

Christopher Hutchison hit Sgt Stuart Morrison with a bolt during chaotic scenes at his home in Blantyre last October.

After a tense stand-off armed officers moved in when he set fire to the house.

A judge heard Hutchison, 37, was in "self destruct mode" after his father died from cancer two days earlier.

At the High Court in Glasgow he was sentenced to eight years after he admitted charges of assault, culpable and reckless as well as wilful fire-raising.

Hutchison was will be supervised in the community for a further four years after his release.

'Serious crimes'

Passing sentence judge Lady Rae said he had committed serious crimes which put the the public and emergency services at "serious risk of injury, if not death".

She told Hutchison: "The officers were there to merely exercise their proper authority to arrest you in connection with an unrelated matter but you held them at bay for about four hours in what I would describe as siege conditions.

"Local schools were placed on lockdown for safety reasons.

"You injured one officer, fortunately not seriously, but it was obvious you did not care whom you might injure."

She also said he risked the lives of his neighbours by setting fire to the house.

Image caption Flames engulfed the house which was surrounded by armed police

It emerged Hutchison already had a lengthy criminal past with a recent jail term for hurling items - including heaters and a chest of drawers - at police.

He will also serve the remaining 75 days of that sentence.

Police were initially called to Hutchison's home on the morning of 24 October following reports of a disturbance.

A short time later he was spotted with a loaded crossbow.

Sgt Morrison was 10 metres away when Hutchison fired the weapon with a bolt going through a closed door and striking the policeman.

It only broke the skin on the officer's arm.

A police negotiator was then called to try to calm Hutchison, whose girlfriend was also in the house at the time.

But he continued to fire the crossbow out of a window onto the street as a "warning" to police.

'Bereavement breakdown'

Hutchison then set fire to curtains in his lounge as well as an upturned bed in a room.

The court heard the blaze spread rapidly and left the property badly damaged.

Both Hutchison and his partner were eventually taken out of the house.

Euan Dow, defending, said Hutchison's father had died two days before the crimes.

The advocate added Hutchison had a "very demanding role" as his father's carer and appeared to suffer a "bereavement breakdown" that day.

Mr Dow told the court: "In the morning in question, he was in self-destruct mode.

"It is clear - taking him at his word - that he did not care if he lived or died himself and appeared hell bent in provoking the firearms officers."

Hutchison now wanted to "express his apologies" for striking Sgt Morrison, he added.

Related Topics

More on this story