Man threatened to “blow the heads off” police

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A man who repeatedly threatened to “blow the heads off” police and community support officers with a shotgun he had stolen in a burglary has been convicted after a re-trial.

Philip Blackburn’s first hearing collapsed in February but a re-presenting of the evidence ended this week with his being convicted on the five charges he faced.

The 30-year-old, formerly of Ashton-in-Makerfield, near Wigan, was told by a judge that he would have to consider the issue of his dangerousness and further remanded him in custody to enable psychiatric and probation reports to be prepared.

Judge Neil Flewitt told Blackburn he had been unable to make him co-operate during his trial and if he did not co-operate with the preparation of reports, “I will draw whatever inferences I feel are appropriate.”

A Liverpool Crown Court jury took just 90 minutes to convict Blackburn unanimously of burglary, possessing a Beretta shotgun and ammunition while banned and with intent to endanger life plus three offences of making threats to kill.

His trial heard he was arrested on another matter and while at Wigan police HQ because of his behaviour it was decided to take him for hospital assessment. While awaiting transport two custody officers found him issuing threats, said prosecutor Henry Riding.

“He said whenever he got out, even after 14 years, he had a shotgun and was going to blow people’s heads off. To back up the threats he told the officers he had committed a burglary in Culcheth in which he stole a shotgun and they could check up on their computers. He repeated his threats to shoot various people, particularly community support officer David Radcliffe and local beat bobby Brian Gough. He said: ‘I’ll do a 14-year stretch no problem because when I get out I know where the shotgun is. I’ll kill you with it, wait and see’.”

At the infirmary he claimed Wigan PCSOs were always following him and repeated he would blow their heads off and his ex’s friend David Smith.

Mr Riding said Blackburn “appeared very calm and very serious and the officers were of the view he was more than capable of carrying out the threats.” The next day he was admitted to Leigh Infirmary where he repeated threats to a mental health nurse, claiming PCSOs were conspiring to prevent him seeing his son. He refused to disclose where he had hidden the shotgun although he suggested Lancashire.

He said he was going to use it to get his own back and when asked if he was going to use it on the police he replied: “There are 75 cartridges, how many officers do you think there are in the police station?”

Blackburn, of no fixed address, denied committing the burglary and did not have a gun and had not actually intended to carry out his threats. He will be sentenced on September 9.