Bowling alley gunman warned of 'significant' jail time after pleading guilty to hostage drama

David Harding

A 53-year-old man is facing a ‘lengthy jail sentence’ after pleading guilty to holding two people hostage during a four-hour armed siege at a bowling alley.

David Clarke armed himself with a sawn off shotgun, samurai sword and a knife and went looking for someone he’d had a dispute with.

But a court heard he could not find the person he was looking for and instead took two staff members hostage at Bermuda Park in Nuneaton, Warwickshire.

Armed police rushed to the MFA Bowl at around 2.30pm on October 22 last year to attempt to free workers Joshua Steedman and William Barlow.

Police outside the MFA Bowl in Bermuda Park, Nuneaton, when the siege took place last year (SWNS)

The whole area was cordoned off as families were evacuated to a nearby cinema, hotel and restaurant.

Clarke was charged with two counts of kidnapping, possessing a prohibited firearm with intent to cause fear of violence, and having it with intent to commit offences of false imprisonment.

He admitted the offences at Warwick Crown Court on Friday.

His sentencing was adjourned for psychiatrist reports to be prepared.

Judge Andrew Lockhart QC warned Clarke to expect ‘a significant and lengthy prison sentence’.


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Clarke took two people hostage during the four-house siege (SWNS)

Chief Superintendent Alex Franklin-Smith, of Warwickshire Police, said after the case: ‘Clarke will have realised the impact his selfish actions would have on the victims and the many people and families who were out enjoying the start of the school half-term holiday.

‘Fortunately, incidents of this nature are extremely rare.

He added: ‘The situation was fast moving, dynamic and attracted significant local, national and international interest.

‘The incident brought out the best in the people of Nuneaton.’

Clarke, of Nuneaton, will be sentenced on March 2.