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Man with mental heath problems locked himself in room with knife hours before his death

PUBLISHED: 14:33 08 August 2019 | UPDATED: 14:33 08 August 2019

Carrow House.
Picture: ANTONY KELLY

Carrow House. Picture: ANTONY KELLY

Archant Norfolk 2016

A man with a history of mental health problems barricaded himself in his room hours before his death, an inquest has heard.

Craig Barnes, 29, of Station Road, Thetford, called 999 on the morning of his death on May 7 2018.

Police arrived at his home at 10am to find he had barricaded himself in, claiming that someone had called him names and was planning to kill him.

He told the control room that if anyone tried to enter his room he would kill them as he had a knife.

Officers from Thetford station and an armed response team from Diss attended to Mr Barnes and three officers attempted to talk to him through his door.

Armed response sergeant Jason Ellis told Norfolk Coroners Court on Thursday, August 8, that in his 19 years of service it was the worst situation he had been in, in terms of trying to hear someone.

He told the court: "It was extremely difficult to hear him through the door, I can think of it as if he was holding clothes over his mouth.

"He was only giving yes or no answers and we had problems trying to get more responses."

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Mr Barnes, who had previously spent four years in prison at Chelmsford and Wayland prisons after being involved in an accident while driving a stolen car, told officers he had put his wardrobe and a chest of draws in front of the door. A sound of metallic banging could then be heard from the room.

Thetford officer Anne-Marie Spinga asked Mr Barnes what the noise was, he said it was a knife.

In a statement the court heard that Mr Barnes said he was "playing with it" and that he used it "for cutting things".

On several occasions officers asked if he planned to hurt himself and he said no. They then asked him to go to the window so they could see he was unharmed. Sgt Ellis and PC Spinga both saw him at the window where he appeared uninjured.

The inquest heard police attended for one-and-a-half hours and left when they believed Mr Barnes was not a threat to himself or others.

Measures were put in place for him to meet with mental health services.

At the time of his death he was working as a process operative at CamdenBoss Ltd in Mildenhall, which makes electro-mechanical components.

The inquest continues.

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