Video: 'Loner' dead and police officer shot in seven-hour Huddersfield siege

A 42-year-old man was shot dead by police in West Yorkshire this morning after shooting one officer and then continuing to fire from a house during a seven-hour siege.

Alistair Bell was shot by police marksmen at his home village of Kirkheaton, near Huddersfield.

The incident began when uniformed police arrived at Bell's home in Cockley Hill Lane at about 10pm yesterday to arrest the loner.

Police said he shot one unarmed male officer on the doorstep.

The Pc was taken to hospital with minor injuries.

Bell then moved back into the end-terrace house and continued to fire throughout the night.

Nearby residents said the incident ended at 5.30am when they heard one shot followed a moment later by three louder shots in quick succession.

People living in the area, which remained cordoned off tonight, said they were shocked at such violence in a quiet village.

Others said Bell was well known to the police and had a history of criminal behaviour and drug taking.

The Independent Police Complaints Commission (IPCC) is now trying piece together what happened last night.

Eyewitness Mark Blezzard, 30, who lives opposite, said he heard around eight or nine shots as he followed the incident throughout the night.

He said: "The police then just told us to stay inside but I could see what was going on opposite.

"Loads of police turned up - some carrying machine guns.

"They lit the house up like a Christmas tree and the armed police were behind hedges."

Mr Blezzard, who works as an engineer, said he stayed up all night watching what was happening.

He said: "The police were shouting 'drop your weapon - drop your weapon' and all that carry on.

"I reckon there were about eight or nine shots through the night.

"I'm sure I heard one bounce off a wall."

Another resident, Andrew Cousins, said: "At first we thought it was fireworks. We didn't know it was actually gunshots.

"We heard the police saying 'drop your weapon and come out with your hands up'. That's when we actually realised."

Mr Cousins said the police told Bell: "Come out with your hands up. Put your gun on the floor and nobody will get hurt."

He said: "That's basically what they were saying over and over again."

Locals said Bell had lived in the village all his life and his parents also lived nearby.

They said he was "well known to the police" and had served a number of jail terms, including one serious sentence of around seven years.

They said he lived alone with his pit-bull type dog and they could not remember him having a job.

Margaret Ainley, who lives on the road, said: "He was a bit of a troubled lad, there were problems with drugs I think.

"He never bothered me and would always wave if we crossed in the street.

"He didn't work mind, and lived in the house on his own. It's all a bit of a shock really.

"His car has been abandoned in a field nearby, I've no idea what it's doing there."

Another neighbour who lives opposite the house said the gunman was a "loner".

She said: "I've seen the man who lives in the house around quite a bit, he tended to keep himself to himself though and seemed a bit of a loner."

But Mr Bell's friend Shane Livingstone said: "He was a good bloke - a very good bloke."

Mr Livingstone, who lives a few hundred yards from Mr Bell's house, said they went to school together in Almondbury, Huddersfield.

Retired local butcher Raymond Berry, 81, said he knew Mr Bell's family.

"I knew them all," he said. "They're a local family. You would see Alistair around the village with his dog."

Another man said: "Alistair kept himself to himself. I haven't seen him for while.

"I know he's been in trouble with the police over the years.

"I'm not too sure what he's been up to recently.

"It's just really, really sad. And to happen here of all places."

Local rector Richard Steel said he was alerted by parishioners caught behind the cordon who texted him about the arrival of the police.

He said: "It is a great shock because it is a lovely place to live.

"It's a typical quiet place with a solid, traditional village core."

A spokesman for West Yorkshire Police said: "We regret that the incident at the house did not conclude peacefully as we had hoped and can confirm that the man taken to hospital from the address has now died."

Police said they tried to resolve the situation peacefully although shots were "continually" fired at officers.

Officers initially attended the address to arrest Bell on suspicion of making threats towards another man at a nearby property earlier in the day, the spokesman added.

An IPCC spokesman said: "IPCC investigators have been deployed to the scene to begin the investigation."

One bunch of white, yellow and pink flowers was left at the police cordon.

The card read: "Loveable rogue. Sadly missed."

The injured police officer is understood not to have been detained at hospital.

Officers are investigating whether his stab proof vest saved him from more serious injury.

Later, forensics officers began a search of a nearby takeaway pizza shop.

Tonight, firearms expert Mike Yardley said the shooting of Bell should prompt a reassessment of police firearms tactics and weaponry.

Mr Yardley, a former Army officer who has written widely on gun policy, repeated the view he expressed following the shooting of London barrister Mark Saunders that specialist police marksmen should be trained to shoot-to-wound in certain circumstances.

He said: "The individual police officer is under enormous pressure and strain. It is not the fault of the individual officer for acting in accordance with his training.

"What we can do is consider whether or not we can go forward from this. Perhaps there are other options."

All British police forces regularly assert that shooting to wound in circumstances where a suspect is threatening officers and members of the public is impractical and potentially dangerous.

But Mr Yardley said he believed British police firearms tactics and training relied too much on following military protocols and procedures.

He said there should be more emphasis on developing new weapons which would help skilled marksmen take non-lethal options.

"Of course we don't know the details of today's incident," Mr Yardley said.

"In the case of the barrister, from what I have seen of the footage there was a possibility of a wounding shot by an experienced sniper."

He went on: "A wounding shot doesn't mean it won't kill him. It may well do so. But there's a possibility it may not."

The scene of the shooting is just a few hundred yards from where two police officers were shot dead in 1951. Insp Duncan Fraser and Pc Arthur Jagger were killed as they tried to arrest a man during an incident at a farmhouse at Cockley Hill.