Siege pair jailed

TWO brothers who barricaded themselves in their home during an 18-hour siege surrounded by armed police have been jailed for two years. Residents in flats surrounding the scene were evacuated for their own protection in after an all-day drinking session turned to violence.

TWO brothers who barricaded themselves in their home during an 18-hour siege surrounded by armed police have been jailed for two years.

Residents in flats surrounding the scene were evacuated for their own protection in after an all-day drinking session turned to violence.

Kelvin Mathers, 23, and his brother Ashley 21, shouted and threatened police with violence saying they had a knife during the incident in Rogation Close, Stanway, Colchester in February.

Basildon Crown Court heard yesterdayhow their father, Keith, had returned home at about 4.30pm and argued about the noise being made before he was punched in the face by Kelvin.


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Michael Leavey, prosectuting, said a silent 999 call was made from the flat in the evening and police sent there found the door barricaded.

Keith Mathers returned home and warned there could be a gun in the property so a backup team of armed officers was dispatched.

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Mr Leavey said although a firearm was never found, the brothers had remained silent when asked if they had a gun and at one stage an officer said he thought he had seen a weapon.

In a statement from one firearms officer he said Ashley had warned them if they did not go away he would start firing shots.

At one stage both brothers climbed onto the roof pulling about 150 tiles off before throwing them to the ground below.

The brothers remained holed up as the standoff went through the night and into the next day as police continued to surround the building.

It finally ended peacefully at 4.30pm after they gave themselves up following negotiations.

Mitigating for Ashley Mathers, Lindsey Thompson, said her client - who had previous convictions including arson, common assault, battery, and assaulting a police officer - was frightened and had panicked.

She said he had "very severe" drink problems and all his offences had been committed whilst under the influence. He had been released from prison just one month before the siege.

"It was disgraceful conduct on his behalf and he is sorry, genuinely sorry," she said.

The court heard how Kelvin, who had no "coherent memory of the incident" had the same mitigating circumstances and the origins of his problems had all been in drink.

His previous convictions included arson, offensive chanting at a football match, common assault and assaulting a police officer.

The brothers both pleaded guilty to affray and criminal damage at an earlier hearing.

Judge Philip Clegg sentenced the brothers to two years each for affray and 18 months each for criminal damage, to run concurrently.

He said: "I accept you did not have a gun, but once you realised the police thought you had you let them go on believing it.

"It is very nearly an account of as bad a case of affray as I can imagine."

He warned the brothers if they did not sort out their drinking problems they could spend their lives behind bars.

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