Armed police in 15-hour standoff with man who threatened neighbour with scythe

Cameron Jennings-Williams, 22, of Hafan Deg, Tanygrisiau, was jailed for two years for intentionally or recklessly causing a public nuisance.
Cameron Jennings-William, 22, of Hafan Deg, Tanygrisiau, was jailed for two years for intentionally or recklessly causing a public nuisance. -Credit:North Wales Police

Armed police were involved in a 15-hour siege with a man after he brandished a scythe and threatened to cut a neighbour's head. Cameron Jennings-Williams said he had a Molotov cocktail and petrol, prompting officers to evacuate buildings and close a road for seven hours.

The 22-year-old had reportedly held his partner "hostage" during the incident involving firearms officers and a police negotiator in Tanygrisiau near Blaenau Ffestiniog last summer. His defence barrister said he had panicked and the incident had been blown out of proportion.

A judge jailed Jennings-Williams for two years for intentionally or recklessly causing a public nuisance. He received concurrent sentences for possessing a bladed article and threatening a person with a bladed article both in a private place.

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Caernarfon Crown Court heard the defendant had been in a neighbour's home in the early hours of August 16 last year. Police got a call from a "distressed" neighbour called Kayla Lizzia Jones, 50, at 12.16am.

Prosecutor Karl Scholz said she had seen Jennings-Williams take a scythe from his trousers. "He was threatened her and said 'I'm going to cut your head then I'm going after your dog'. "

Ms Jones returned to her flat "scared for her life". She believed the young man was "off his head on something" and rang police.

Officers arrived and found the defendant at his partner's flat with another knife. He refused to let police in and a stand off began.

He showed them a half-sized vodka bottle with a rag stuffed into the top. It appeared to be a Molotov cocktail, the court heard.

PC Mark Atkinson later found it contained a "harmless liquid" with no smell of alcohol nor petrol. But Mr Scholz said Jennings Williams said he would light the bottle. Police believed at the time there was a danger of a fire erupting and evacuated properties.

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The court also heard that Jennings-Williams "point blank" refused to allow his girlfriend to leave, according to the police negotiator. A false imprisonment allegation was later dropped.

The prosecutor said he also said: "I've got Molotov cocktails here - I'm going to throw them at police outside." During the 15-hour siege, Jennings-Williams also barricaded himself in and said he had weapons and firearms.

He told officers: "I know what I'm capable of. I can just literally stab myself in the neck.

"I won't feel it. I don't feel pain." Eventually he left voluntarily but became tense when handcuffed.

In a statement Ms Jones said she had felt her life was in imminent danger. Elen Owen, defending, said there had in fact been no Molotov cocktails.

The only bottle seized contained water. Her client had made "empty threats" and the incident had been "blown up out of all proportion".

He had previously been seriously assaulted by Ms Jones and the incident involving her was "by no means unprovoked", said Ms Owen. Regarding the later siege Ms Owen said: "He was paranoid and scared and sick with panic and did not want to come out. He was almost childlike.

"The sheer numbers of police... merely aggravated the situation but he behaved in an appalling fashion." He can actually be polite and likeable but lacks the skills to change the course of his life, she added.

He has a long history of mental health problems and is currently locked up 23 hours a day in HMP Berwyn with no medication. The judge Her Honour Nicola Saffman told the defendant, of Hafan Deg, Tanygrisiau, that police had had to take his threats at face value.

They had been concerned for local residents so evacuated properties and even closed a road. It was a huge burden on precious resources and put pressure and strain on local people especially as it happened at night, she added.

She jailed Jennings-Williams for two years for the public nuisance offence. He was also given a 12-month jail term for threatening a person with a bladed article in a private place and four-months jail for possessing a bladed article in a private place - both to run concurrently.

He was given a restraining order prohibiting him from approaching or contacting Ms Jones or entering Hafan Deg estate in Tanygrisiau for ten years. All the items seized would be forfeited and destroyed.

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