Crossbow criminal who shot officer with arrow faces long prison term, judge warns

A man with a history of attacking the police blasted an officer with a loaded crossbow before setting his flat on fire during an armed siege at his home.

Feb 5, 2018

A man with a history of attacking the police blasted an officer with a loaded crossbow before setting his flat on fire during an armed siege at his home. Christopher Hutchison, who had hurled heaters and a chest of drawers at Police Scotland officers in a previous incident, was warned he faces a “significant” prison sentence for his latest outrage. Hutchison shot Sergeant Stuart Morrison in the arm with the crossbow bolt – firing from the window of his house during chaotic scenes in Blantyre, South Lanarkshire on October 24 last year. He only stopped when he “ran out of bolts”, the High Court in Glasgow was told on Monday (February 5). Armed officers were called to the property after the 37-year-old was seen with the potentially deadly weapon. The court heard that Hutchison was in “self-destruct mode” following the death of his cancer-stricken father 48 hours earlier. His house was near two different schools leading to the area being made “secure” as firearms officers were alerted. Prosecutor Sean Smith QC said the weapon was described as “powerful” and capable of causing “serious injury”. Mr Smith said: “Firing bolts from the crossbow carried clear disregard for the safety of others.” Sgt Morrison was one of the armed officers outside the property. He was 30 feet away when Hutchison discharged the crossbow with a bolt going through a closed door and striking the officer. Luckily it only broke the skin on the officer`s arm, Mr Smith said. A police negotiator was then called to try and calm Hutchison. His girlfriend was also in the house at the time. But Hutchison continued to fire the crossbow out of a window onto the street. At one point he shouted that the bolts were a “warning” to officers. He eventually dropped the weapon but only after claiming he had “run out of bolts”. Hutchison then yelled his “neighbours better be out” as he had petrol and was going to set fire to his house. He went on to torch curtains in the lounge as well as an upturned bed in a room. The court heard the blaze spread “rapidly” with the property badly damaged. Both Hutchison and his partner were eventually removed from the house. Euan Dow, defending, said Hutchison`s father had died two days before the crimes. The advocate added Hutchison had a “very demanding role” as his father’s carer and appeared to suffer a “bereavement breakdown” that day. Mr Dow told the court: “In the morning in question, he was in self-destruct mode. “It is clear – taking him at his word – that he did not care if he lived or died himself and appeared hellbent in provoking the firearms officers.” The court heard Hutchison, who admitted charges of assault, culpable and reckless as well as wilful fire-raising, now wanted to “express his apologies” for striking Sgt Morrison. It emerged Hutchison already had a lengthy criminal past with a recent jail term for throwing items – including heaters and a chest of drawers – at officers. Judge Lady Rae, who told Hutchison to expect a “significant” prison term, said: “These are very serious offences. A number of people – including yourself – are fortunate that you are not on more serious charges. “While I appreciate there may have been bereavement issues, many people have them, but do not react the way you did.” He was remanded him in custody with sentencing deferred for reports.

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