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Police used tasers to disarm 'manic' man
8:30am Tuesday 11th September 2012 in News
ARMED police called to a Worcester flat after a city taxi driver was assaulted found a man brandishing two knives and the property on fire.
Drunken Christopher Swan and two other men had hailed a cab to take them to a supermarket in Warndon to buy alcohol.
On the way back, Swan lurched forward and was sick over cabbie Adil Perwez, then made racist remarks before barricading himself in his home.
When police arrived at the smoke-filled flat, he threatened to slit his own throat and had set blazes in the hall and doorway, putting other flats in the block in danger, said Stephen Davies, prosecuting.
Officers who got into the property had to use tasers to stun Swan and disarm him as he marched towards them, Worcester Crown Court was told.
Swan, aged 39, of Snowshill Close, Warndon, Worcester, pleaded guilty to arson being reckless whether life was endangered, common assault on Mr Perwez and racially aggravated affray.
Jailing him for four years, Judge Patrick Thomas QC described the defendant as a man left “very damaged” by his past but said alcohol was no excuse for “unforgiveable and disgusting” behaviour.
“You have had a pretty rotten life, which was not your fault to begin with, but as an adult you have to exercise more control over your life,” he said.
The judge said police and the taxi driver were just doing their jobs and needed to be treated with respect.
The incident on January 6 began at 10pm. Mr Perwez had warned Swan there was a £50 fine for being sick in a cab and told him he would stop to let him out if he felt ill.
But in Chedworth Drive he suddenly retched onto the victim’s ear and began screaming, calling the taxi driver “scum”.
Swan refused to pay and began punching the cab windows before running off to his Snowshill Close flat. Officers with shields, dogs and a police negotiator rushed to the scene after flames could be seen flickering inside the property and a smoke alarm sounded.
“The lounge was heavy with smoke and he was swinging his arms, becoming manically aggressive with knives in both hands,” said Mr Davies. It required three taser bursts to disarm him.
The blaze was quickly extinguished and did not spread to the five neighbouring flats.
Swan had 36 crimes on his record including criminal damage, affray, shoplifting and assault.
He claimed he went out of control after failing to take medication combined with heavy drinking.
He said he had been in a low mood for some time and had considered suicide and self-harm.
Barry Newton, defending, said he tendered early guilty pleas and had received treatment and medication while on remand in jail. He was not suffering from a psychiatric illness.