Judge commends constable confronted by knifeman

A JUDGE has commended the bravery of a policeman called to the scene of a violent domestic incident who was then faced with a knife-wielding husband.

Nigel Crook had barricaded himself into a bedroom after earlier attacking his wife who had told him she wanted to end their marriage, said Judge Kerry Macgill.

When officers arrived at the scene in Cleckheaton, Crook threatened to stab them as well as a police dog brought to the house.

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For an hour they tried to reason with him, offering him cups of tea, and talking to him but he rejected all offers.

Commending Pc Alex Booth at Leeds Crown Court yesterday for his handling of a “difficult” situation, the judge said the office’s sergeant had described his actions as among the bravest he had seen in 27 years of service.

Eventually, after firearms officers were also brought to the scene, Crook was Tasered and subdued.

Crook, 44, of Victoria Avenue, Cleckheaton, who admitted affray and was found guilty by a jury of assaulting and threatening to kill his wife, and damaging her phone, was jailed for a total of four and a half years.

Judge Macgill said in 2008, after threatening his wife with a knife, Crook was given a community order which included attending an integrated domestic violence programme.

His wife was supportive, believing his drink might have been spiked leading to his behaviour that night, but the judge said it appeared Crook had paid more “lip service” to the programme rather than fully engaging in it.

A week before the incident last December his wife had told him she wanted the marriage to end. He did not accept that and on the day concerned called her into the bedroom where he had hidden one if not two knives under a mattress.

The judge said Crook claimed at trial that was because he was considering killing himself but what he did was threaten his wife with one telling her she was going to die.

He held it to her throat but “she fought for her life like a tigress,” said the judge.

Furniture was knocked over as she tried to get away, fortunately she ended up having suffered only bruises and a cut to her finger “but she went through a frightful episode fearing for her life.”

By the time police arrived he had barricaded himself into the room.

Nicholas De la Poer said Crook was in a “terrible emotional place” at the time. He could not face his 18-year marriage being brought to an end.