I shouted ‘drop your weapon’... I thought he was going to shoot me

112587-2880  COURT JOHN CROUCH (GB) MRW 21/7/2011''// all pix in this folder taken at Dorchester Crown Court Dorset where JOHN ROBERT CROUCH (42)  was being prosecuted -ID approved by GB + please have double-check with GB before use  MRW // ''PC David Gwilliam -''Picture: (112587-2880)
112587-2880 COURT JOHN CROUCH (GB) MRW 21/7/2011''// all pix in this folder taken at Dorchester Crown Court Dorset where JOHN ROBERT CROUCH (42) was being prosecuted -ID approved by GB + please have double-check with GB before use MRW // ''PC David Gwilliam -''Picture: (112587-2880)

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A JILTED husband who holed himself up in his garage with an air rifle after trying to strangle his wife was brought down by armed police.

Amanda Crouch dialled 999 after her husband had grabbed her round the throat during a row about him moving out.

112587-7074 COURT JOHN CROUCH (GB) MRW 21/7/2011''// all pix in this folder taken at Dorchester Crown Court Dorset where JOHN ROBERT CROUCH (42)  was being prosecuted -ID approved by GB + please have double-check with GB before use  MRW // ''The air-rifle that it is alleged was used by John Crouch ''Picture: (112587-7074)

112587-7074 COURT JOHN CROUCH (GB) MRW 21/7/2011''// all pix in this folder taken at Dorchester Crown Court Dorset where JOHN ROBERT CROUCH (42) was being prosecuted -ID approved by GB + please have double-check with GB before use MRW // ''The air-rifle that it is alleged was used by John Crouch ''Picture: (112587-7074)

During the call the operator could hear the estranged husband, John Crouch, threatening to harm the first police officer he saw.

Police carrying tasers and riot shields surrounded the garage in Newlands Lane, Waterlooville, which Crouch had converted into a flat and was staying in while the couple separated.

Crouch, who had been drinking, locked himself in with the gun and four cans of beer and could be seen peering out of a window.

From there he sent his wife a text saying: ‘No police, I’m coming over to finish what I started.’

At around midnight the 42-year-old stepped outside with the weapon and, on seeing two officers, pointed the gun at PC Mark Ingram.

The officer told a judge: ‘He obviously sees us and then just raises the weapon directly at me.

‘It was almost one of those instinctive reactions. There was a pause of a second or two before we responded.’

The officers shouted ‘drop your weapon, armed police’ but Crouch refused.

‘I thought the defendant was going to shoot me,’ PC Ingram said.

‘I could see the red taser dot coming up the fence at which point I was shouting “drop your weapon”.

‘It wasn’t until PC Gwilliam discharged the taser that that had some reaction.’

PC David Gwilliam, who fired the taser, said he thought Crouch had a real gun.

‘What it looked like was a high-powered rifle,’ he said.

‘I was quite shocked to see it come up to the aim position.

‘I immediately drew my taser and gave verbal warnings, along with PC Ingram, and then discharged my taser.’

Both officers then grabbed Crouch and arrested him in February this year.

PC Gwilliam said: ‘Obviously having that rifle pointing at you is very scary so we immediately warned him.’

Crouch pleaded guilty to common assault and possession of a firearm with intent to cause fear.

At Dorchester Crown Court Judge John Beashel warned him he will go to jail when he is sentenced next month.

Detective Constable Jamie Palmer, who led the investigation, said: ‘It must be frightening for anyone to have that weapon pointing at them. Firearms officers put their lives at risk everyday and they know the risks, but from that range it could have been lethal.’‬

999 call

AT 11.14pm Amanda Crouch dials 999.

She tells the operator: ‘My husband has just attacked and strangled me and he has got an airgun.’

John Crouch can then be overheard in the background saying: ‘No I haven’t.’

Before adding: ‘The first copper that comes here I’m going to smash over the head.’

Mrs Crouch also tells the operator her husband has threatened to shoot the first police officer he sees.

While still on the phone she tells police he has taken the gun to the flat above the garage and is looking out of the window, crouching down.

The police tell her to turn the outside lights off so that Crouch cannot see the officers surrounding the house.