A Swindon man has been jailed after pleading guilty to offences relating to a firearms incident in Stratton St Margaret earlier this summer.
Scott Anthony Symmonds, 31, of Darling Close, appeared at Swindon Crown Court today (27/11/19) for sentencing.
He had previously pleaded guilty to making use of or attempting to make use of an imitation firearm with intent to resist arrest and criminal damage.
He was jailed for a total of four years and nine months.
Officers were called to Symmonds’ home in Darling Close at around 7.30pm on 28 August due to an ongoing domestic disorder.
The two police officers who initially responded to the 999 call entered the property through the open back door, but were very quickly confronted by Symmonds pointing a firearm.
The pair, who were unarmed but were carrying Tasers, swiftly withdrew from the address and took cover in the street outside.
Symmonds, who remained inside the house, smashed an upstairs window and proceeded to fire shots at police officers outside.
Armed police then arrived at the scene and used a baton gun, which fires projectiles, to disarm him.
Officers then successfully negotiated with him, resulting in Symmonds discarding his weapons and peacefully leaving the house at around 9.30pm, when he was arrested.
Police seized a number of weapons from the house – an imitation AK47 assault rifle, a decommissioned Uzi sub-machine gun, a blank firing pistol – which were all used during the incident.
There were also two other blank firing pistols in the property.
Det Insp Paul Hacker, from Swindon CID, said: “This was an incredibly frightening incident for the police officers who attended. They genuinely felt in fear for their lives and believed they were being shot at by live rounds.
“Although the subsequent investigation has clarified that Symmonds did not have live firearms, they were very realistic replicas and were used with the aim of convincing police that they were under threat.
“During his police interviews, Symmonds revealed that his ultimate aim was to be shot by armed officers, and it is great credit to those that attended on the night that the incident was resolved peacefully and safely, without anyone being injured.”
Statements from the police officers who attended on the night, including the unarmed officers who initially responded to the 999 call, reveal what a frightening experience it was for all involved.
PC Nicholas Finning and PC Craig Head, from Swindon North Community Policing Team, arrived at the address shortly after 7.30pm.
PC Finning described the moment the pair of them entered the house through the back door and heard what sounded like a firearm being loaded from the direction of the hallway.
He said: “At this point it’s safe to say I’ve started to become very worried about what was about to happen and I’ve brought my Taser to a ready position in front but pointing down.
“The next thing I saw was the barrel of some sort of rifle appearing from around the corner of the hallway approximately three metres in front of me. It was raised up to head height and appeared to be up in a shooting position as you would expect from a soldier.
“I’ve raised my Taser immediately as would have no way to retreat in time and re-positioned my body to the side as the male has come into full view with the gun already raised up to his eye sight and it was pointing straight at me, into my face.
“At this moment I would confidently say I was the most scared I have ever been in any situation and in fear for my life, staring down the barrel of a gun. I knew that I had heard something either being loaded or cocked into the gun and given the size of the gun I was sure that it could do some significant harm.”
The pair quickly retreated, calling for armed back-up on their radios, and tried to find cover in the street outside.
PC Head said: “As I heard the smash I looked up to see what appeared to be some kind of black rifle being used to smash the window.
“This rifle then sat on the broken window evenly and the barrel was directly pointed towards me, the rifle was steadied and it appeared as though Scott was about to shoot me. I was at that point behind a police vehicle which covered the bottom half of my body, however the top half was exposed. In my opinion this is what delayed him trying to shoot me due to my head only being the realistic place to make impact, however from fifteen metres away with a rifle this for anyone would be a very difficult shot to make.
“As I looked at the barrel of that weapon, I started running in fear of my life, I ran back out of the close and towards a house which provided me with hard cover.”
He added: “I have been a police officer for just over two years now and in the course of duty I have been abused and assaulted on numerous occasions. However, this incident has really shaken me up, I really do believe if I wasn’t behind a police vehicle I would have been shot by Scott and injured. I have honestly never been so scared in my life and this has really affected me.”
PC Nathan Perry, an unarmed officer who has previously served in the Royal Marines, arrived at the scene as back-up and has also revealed how frightening the incident was.
He said: “As I was looking around the corner of the building I have seen the suspect stand up in front of the window and shove his hand through the opening. I immediately recognised that he was holding a pistol in his hand and I have instinctively pressed myself against the wall just as the male pointed it in my direction and discharged it.
“There was a very loud band and I could see the muzzle flash emanate from the weapon.
“I was frightened at this point and could feel my heart hammering in my chest. Whilst I have experienced live rounds being fired in my direction before, it is not a sensation I would want anyone to go through. The fear I felt as I realised the male was attempting to kill me was huge.”