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East Anglian Daily Times
12 June 2008 | 06:30
A DEPRESSED man who sparked two major incidents involving armed police has been spared a prison sentence.
On one occasion Simon Cleaver, 21, lost his temper after a disagreement with his family during a game of cards and stormed upstairs where he barricaded himself in his bedroom.
Armed officers were called to the family home in Mustow Street, Bury St Edmunds, after Cleaver began smashing windows and discharged an air rifle twice into his bedroom door, Ipswich Crown Court heard.
Patricia Doggett, prosecuting, said that when officers tried to get him to surrender, Cleaver told them: “I will shoot you if you open the door and tell those officers to get out of the garden or I will shoot them.”
Thirty minutes later Cleaver opened his door and was arrested. “The officers outside were aware of shots being fired out of the window. A search of the bedroom was carried out and a number of weapons were seized,” said Miss Doggett.
Six months later, on February 23, armed police were called to a Tesco supermarket in Bury St Edmunds in the middle of the night after Cleaver went on the rampage brandishing two carving knives.
Cleaver had wandered into the 24-hour store at St Saviour’s interchange at 1am wielding the knives and officers from Suffolk’s armed response unit were called to evacuate the store.
Miss Doggett told the court that two customers saw Cleaver with the knives and alerted staff.
“One of them saw Cleaver walking towards him holding two carving knives telling him to call the police,” she said.
When a police officer approached Cleaver he noticed he was crying, unsteady on his feet and talking to himself.
The officer asked him to put the knives on the ground and to lie down so that he could be handcuffed and he had done as he was told.
Staff later found that Cleaver had caused £54 damage to two shirts and a handbag. After his arrest Cleaver said medication he had been taking for depression had made him feel suicidal and he had stopped taking it.
Cleaver admitted affray and two offences of carrying a bladed article. Sentencing him to a community order, Judge John Devaux said a custodial sentence would not allow enough time for effective rehabilitation work that Cleaver needed to be carried out.
Judge Devaux made Cleaver subject to a two-year supervision requirement and banned him from entering pubs within two miles of the Borough of St Edmundsbury offices for two years.
He also banned him from owning or using any firearms or imitation firearms for two years and made a deprivation order in respect of a number of weapons found at Cleaver’s home.
Neil Macaulay for Cleaver said he had suffered from depression since he was 10 or 11 and had been diagnosed as suffering from recurrent chronic depression. He said Cleaver’s depression was aggravated by his use of alcohol.