Knife man threatened to burn home in police siege

The incident happened on Alison Street. Picture: Google
The incident happened on Alison Street. Picture: Google

A Kirkcaldy man threatened police officers with a knife and a hammer during a 90-minute siege at his home.

Officers were called out to speak to James Johnston after he made threats to burn down a house.

When he began making threats to police, the area was cordoned off and specialist officers brought in to deal with the siege.

Johnston (32) currently a prisoner at Perth, appeared for sentencing at Dunfermline Sheriff Court.

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He previously admitted that on January 20 at Alison Street, Kirkcaldy, he behaved in a threatening or abusive manner and whilst wearing a balaclava masking his face brandished a dog chain, shouted, swore and repeatedly made threats of violence towards James Weatherburn, threatening to cause damage to and set fire to his home.

He also admitted at his home in Saunders Street, he shouted, swore, brandished a knife, a hammer and a metal pole, repeatedly threatened to assault police officers if they entered his house, threw household objects at a window, causing it to smash and spraying broken glass in the direction of officers and repeatedly punched the broken window.

Depute fiscal Dev Kapadia said Mr Weatherburn and his partner were at home at around 2pm when they heard someone shouting in the street outside and recognised Johnston’s voice.

There had been an incident between Mr Weatherburn and Johnston the previous day when “words were exchanged”, explained the depute.

When the couple looked outside, they saw Johnston standing with a balaclava and sunglasses on and a dog chain wrapped around his fist.

He was shouting, “Get out here. I’m going to carve you up.”

Other threats included setting fire to the property, smashing the windows and he said: “My boys are coming through your door tonight.”

He was pacing up and down the street shouting: “I’m Jimmy Johnston.”

Police were called and when they arrived Johnston had gone back home.

“They tried to engage with him but he was extremely agitated and was acting very aggressively,” said Mr Kapadia.

A cordon was put up and the police decided to treat it as a siege situation calling in specialist officers from Edinburgh.

Throughout the 90 minute incident, Johnston brandished weapons at his second-floor window, including a hammer, a knife and a pole.

He threw items out of the window and struck a police dog with one of these. He also smashed the window, sending glass on to officers below.

Johnstone finally gave himself up and was arrested at 3.52pm.

Defence solicitor Chris Sneddon said his client had struggled with drug addiction and at the time of the incident was finding it difficult to cope having been put on a methadone programme.

“He’s very sorry for what happened,” he added.

Sheriff Craig McSherry jailed Johnston for 20 months backdated to January 21 when he was remanded in custody.

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