A DISABLED man shot by armed officers after inciting terror in a quiet Knaphill street has today been jailed for four years.
Richard Pell, 41, will serve a minimum of two years in prison after threatening to harm himself and others in a night of drug and alcohol fuelled terror on July 25.
Judge Christopher Critchlow extended some leniency to Pell, who entered the court using a zimmer frame after being shot in the upper part of his leg.
Pell had pleaded guilty to charges of possessing an imitation fire arm with intent to cause fear of violence, and the communication of false information when he first appeared at Guildford Crown Court on October 11.
Walter Mitty character Pell, believed to be a discharged military hero, tricked emergency response teams and residents into thinking his black replica ball-bearing gun was actually a live firearm, and convinced them he had planted a bomb at his home in Oak Tree Road.
Terrified families were forced to flee their homes as a stand-off eventually ended in Pell being rushed to hospital.
Ruby Selva, prosecuting, told the court that a number of factors contributed to Pell’s actions leading up to the shooting.
Ms Selva said Pell felt shame and guilt after forgetting the anniversary of his late wife Sharon’s death.
The court heard Sharon, who was seven months pregnant, was killed in a racially-motivated attack by a homeless man in London in July 2001.
Judge Critchlow was also informed that Pell had NEVER served in the armed forces as previously believed – news which even came as a shock to his defence solicitor David Castle.
Pell deceived locals and regular drinkers at The Anchor pub in Knaphill for years, claiming his limp and speech problems were as a result of being blown up in Afghanistan while on tour with the British Army.
But the prosecution made clear that Pell’s injuries were in fact acquired in a road traffic collision.
Even without a psychiatric report, requested by Judge Critchlow at the hearing in October but delayed because of a typing backlog at Sutton’s HMP High Down where Pell has been remanded in custody for 75 days, Mr Castle invited a prison sentence at his client’s request.
The court was told that Pell had been trying to get himself killed in an American phenomenon known as ‘suicide by cop’ – a move often employed stateside by individuals who cannot commit the act themselves.
Pell, who was living with Sharon’s sister Jacqueline in Oak Tree Road at the time of the shooting, allegedly “just went off on one” after being confronted over a missing pack of biscuits.
High on cocaine, Pell locked himself in his room at around 9.25pm before texting worried Jacqueline: “I have made a bomb – call the pigs and it’s a big bang.”
After telling him she would show the message to the police, Jacqueline received a second alert that said: “Cool, I can take some of them with us.”
At 9.55pm, Pell put an emergency call out himself and told the 999 operator: “I’ve got a bomb in my house and a gun and I’ll kill anyone who comes in.”
Police traced the call to Pell’s address before receiving a second call which said the supposed gunman was prepared to speak with a negotiator.
Officers attended the grade-four incident – four being the highest grade that can possibly be given to an emergency call – believing Pell, supposedly of a military background, was in fact in possession of a working handgun and live explosive.
It was noted that Pell took a definite shooting stance as he left the property before pointing the gun at police.
Believing he was capable of taking an accurate shot, and was carrying serious intentions to hurt and kill others, Pell was shot with a single round and treated by officers until an ambulance arrived.
Upon questioning, Pell revealed his frustration at not being killed by the attending officers and moaned: “Why couldn’t the cop shoot me in the head?”
He admitted that his intention was to provoke police into shooting him as he felt he was more of a danger to himself than others.
Judge Critchlow sentenced Pell to 40 months in prison for possessing an imitation fire arm with intent to cause fear of violence, and eight consecutive months for the communication of false information with regard to the bomb hoax.
The Independent Police Complaints Commission continues to investigate the shooting.