Watch: Moment man points imitation gun at police

Norfolk Police bodycam footage of the arrest of Leigh Walkington who had an imitation firearm.

Norfolk Police bodycam footage of the arrest of Leigh Walkington who had an imitation firearm. - Credit: Norfolk Constabulary

A brave police officer has described the terrifying moment he was confronted by an armed man.

Leigh Walkington, 43, brandished the fake gun when officers came to visit him after his wife, who he had been in a relationship with since 2013, reported being held around the throat by him following an earlier row.

Norwich Crown Court heard earlier this month how officers ran into the address to try and take the weapon from him.

Norfolk Police bodycam footage of the arrest of Leigh Walkington who had an imitation firearm.

Norfolk Police bodycam footage of the arrest of Leigh Walkington who had an imitation firearm. - Credit: Norfolk Constabulary

Walkington “attempted to point it" at them, the court heard, and refused to let go of it but was eventually detained by officers before being arrested following the incident on July 9 this year.

One of the officers who attended the incident, who wants to remain anonymous, has described how the terrifying moment unfolded.

He said: “I spoke to Walkington politely at his front door and explained why we were there. Walkington seemed calm and reasonable although he didn’t want to let us in.

Norfolk Police bodycam footage of the arrest of Leigh Walkington who had an imitation firearm.

Norfolk Police bodycam footage of the arrest of Leigh Walkington who had an imitation firearm. - Credit: Norfolk Constabulary

"I never expected what happened next. When Walkington produced the firearm from the table and pointed it at me, I had no idea what he intended to do. Given the chance, I believe he would have used it against us or himself.

"I had colleagues with Tasers but in that moment, I reacted on instinct and with the help of my colleagues, gained control of him.

Most Read

"His behaviour only changed when more of us got involved, if there hadn’t have been four of us there the situation could have been very different.

“I felt quite shaken afterwards but I’m glad we were able to resolve it safely because if we hadn’t, someone could have been seriously injured or worse.”

Leigh Walkington

Leigh Walkington - Credit: Norfolk Constabulary

Walkington, of West End, Northwold, near Thetford, was sentenced to a total of 58 weeks in prison earlier this month after he previously admitted assault by beating and having an imitation firearm with intent to resist arrest.

Sentencing Walkington, Judge Alice Robinson said: "It looked realistic and you pointed it at police officers who were trying to arrest you."

Judge Robinson said, in acting as he had, Walkington was "intending for the police to shoot you". 

Speaking following the sentencing hearing, Inspector Chris Smith, based at Downham Market, said: “This was a scary situation for officers to be faced with, particularly as they’re not firearms trained.

"You can see from the body-worn video how quickly Walkington’s behaviour changes and had it not been for the swift reaction of officers at the scene, it could have ended very differently.

"Incidents involving firearms, whether genuine or imitation, are dealt with seriously because of the threat they pose and in the heat of the moment, it’s impossible to tell whether a firearm is real or fake.”

An armed officer's nightmare

It was reminiscent of an arrest made by armed officers at Coldham Hall Tavern at Surlingham, near Norwich, In May this year when Simon Tait had an imitation weapon.

Body worn video footage of armed police being faced by Simon Tait with an imitation firearm at Surlingham in May this year.

Body worn video footage of armed police being faced by Simon Tait with an imitation firearm at Surlingham in May this year. - Credit: Norfolk Police

Tait, 38, of Coldham Hall, Surlingham, was jailed for four years and four months after having admitted possession of an imitation firearm, assaulting an emergency worker and sending a letter/communication with intent to cause distress.

Simon Tait

Simon Tait - Credit: Norfolk Police

He also admitted an indent images offence dating back to February this year.

During that case the firearms officer, who did not want to be named, described it as the "most challenging" situation he had ever faced.

He said he has to deal with “life and death situations” as part of his role and was "proud to have achieved this role and the responsibility that comes with it" but also knew his actions would be scrutinised in the months and years afterwards.

He said: "I was faced with any armed officer’s worst nightmare, potentially looking down the barrel of a weapon that could kill me or looking at a plastic toy."

Become a Supporter

This newspaper has been a central part of community life for many years. Our industry faces testing times, which is why we're asking for your support. Every contribution will help us continue to produce local journalism that makes a measurable difference to our community.

Become a Supporter