Pregnant Virgin Media worker subjected to terrifying ordeal at hands of knifeman in Washington

Geoffrey Burn, jailed for affray
-Credit: (Image: Northumbria Police)

A pregnant Virgin Media worker was subjected to a terrifying ordeal at the hands of a knifeman while carrying out a site survey.

The woman, who was working as a field technician, went to Washington to carry out her duties on November 30 last year and was in a van showing the firm's livery. After parking up, she became aware of a lump of coal landing a few feet away from her and she saw Geoffrey Burn in a garden.

He went inside then came back out shouting at her and she gestured to him that she was working for Virgin Media. He responded by telling her to get in her van and get out of the street, Newcastle Crown Court heard.

The concerned woman got into her van and locked the doors. Michael Bunch, prosecuting, said Burn was right outside her van by this point and she tried to take his photograph on her phone.

He told the court: "That seemed to provoke him further and he ran to the driver's door and tried to open the door. When it wouldn't open, he started punching the door window and pulling at the handle.

"He struck the window at least twice and was shouting and swearing and was very angry and aggressive. She then saw him step back, reach into his waistband and pull out a kitchen knife."

The frightened victim quickly drove off, swerving around him to flee the scene. She then warned two other women, including one with a pram, about the knifeman and rang the police.

She said in a victim impact statement: "This was extremely frightening. I was simply doing my job and he had no reason to throw anything at the van or threaten me.

"I was 23 weeks pregnant and feared for the safety of myself and my unborn child. Since the incident, I'm constantly making sure any vehicle I'm in is locked and always looking around."

Burn handed himself in to police two weeks later and was then bailed. But on January 9 this year, he carried out another offence in which he told police he had machine guns and hostages he would kill.

Officers went to his home just before 6am and he was seen behind some patio doors holding a large kitchen knife. He said he had five hostages and would blow up the house.

He also said he would spray their cars with a machine gun and that if anyone entered the house, one of the hostages would die. Police decided to force entry but found Burn, who was at an upstairs window saying he had a gun, had barricaded the door.

When police got in, he locked himself in the bathroom and was shouting aggressively and started stabbing a knife through the bathroom door. Officers made a hole in the door and shot him twice with a taser to subdue him.

Burn, who has 60 previous convictions, pleaded guilty to two counts of affray and possessing a bladed article. He was jailed for 22 months.

Andrew Walker, defending, said: "He has expressed remorse, shame and embarrassment for the way he behaved. He was taking a concoction of drugs which was having an adverse effect on him and his behaviour."