Mum feared for life during five-hour knife siege in Halifax

Club Lane, Halifax - scene of the siege. Picture: Google Maps
Club Lane, Halifax - scene of the siege. Picture: Google Maps
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A MOTHER-OF-THREE feared for the lives of herself and her three-year-old daughter after a friend’s jealous partner sparked a five-hour siege at her Halifax home.

Catherine Fletcher almost got away from Kyle Murray at her home in Club Lane in May, but he dragged her back into the house with her young daughter clinging on to her.

As police officers arrived at the early morning incident they could see that Murray, who had been drinking alcohol and taking cocaine, was armed with a knife and carrying a petrol can.

Bradford Crown Court heard the 24-year-old had already poured some petrol out of the can and was threatening to light it Prosecutor Duncan Ritchie said the officers could hear Ms Fletcher and her daughter screaming as Murray poured more petrol around the living room and hallway as well as on himself and the complainant.

Ms Fletcher asked Murray to let her crying daughter go and he initially said: “She can go, but you’re not.” Mr Ritchie said Murray eventually relented and told Ms Fletcher to run. Mr Ritchie said both her clothing and the child’s pyjamas had petrol on them. In her victim impact statement Ms Fletcher said:”I was completely in fear for both our lives and all I could think of was how I could save my daughter and get her out before he ignited the petrol.”

Eventually Murray was calmed down and he gave himself up to police.

Murray, of Illingworth Road, Halifax, told police he had become paranoid after drinking and taking cocaine and said he wanted to apologise to the victims.

The court heard that Murray had been in a “difficult relationship” with Ms Fletcher’s friend Rebecca Crabtree and the month before the siege he caused thousands of pounds worth of damage to Ms Crabtree’s home and possessions.

Murray, who had previous convictions for robbery and grievous bodily harm, pleaded guilty at an earlier hearing to a series of charges including making threats to kill, assault, criminal damage and causing a public nuisance in relation to the siege.

Today Judge Jonathan Durham Hall QC jailed Murray for a total of four years and eight months, but he also imposed an extended period of licence of five years because of the danger posed by the defendant.

“You are dangerous,” the judge told Murray.

“You know it. I know it. any observer knows it. That does not mean you get locked up and the key thrown away, far from it, but it does mean I have to extend the licence period for obvious reasons.”

The judge described the events of the May 2 as “horrific” and said they had arisen out of Murray’s reaction to jealousy and paranoia concerning his partner.

Barrister Charlotte Eastwood, for Murray, submitted that he had expressed genuine remorse and she revealed that her client had tried to commit suicide while in custody.

She said Murray had been acting irrationally at the time and he was clearly someone who wanted, and needed, help.

“The defendant is truly devastated by his actions in relation to these offences and he appreciates fully what an horrific incident it was and the effect his behaviour has had on the victims in this case.”

Judge Durham Hall also imposed indefinite restraining orders which ban Murray from having any contact with either of the women.