March drug abuser smashed axe through police car windscreen after chilling Raoul Moat phone call

AN axe-wielding drug abuser who telephoned police from a March phone box to threaten officers and congratulate Newcastle killer Raoul Moat, later turned the 14-inch weapon on a squad car.

David Graves, 35, rang police from a phone box on March High Street, telling an officer in the control room: “Bring as many as you want. I’m going to start wrecking the place, I’m going to do you. Raoul Moat congratulations to you.”

When police rushed to the scene Graves terrified officers by jumping on to the bonnet of their car and smashing the axe through the windscreen, Cambridge Crown Court heard.

CCTV footage played to the court showed police using CS spray to disable Graves, who was forced to hurl the axe to the ground.

“Officers shouted at the defendant to put the axe down but it was only when he was disabled that the axe was thrown away,” said Sara Walker, prosecuting.

The court heard that Graves remembered nothing of the incident as he had taken around 16 diazepam tablets and had drunk two cans of high-strength lager.

Graves, of Estover Road, March, admitted one charge of affray, one charge of possessing an offensive weapon and two charges of criminal damage.

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The incident occurred on the evening of August 30, more than a month after Rothbury gunman Moat had shot himself after a six-hour stand-off with police.

The Newcastle killer had been on the run for six days in July after shooting dead his ex-girlfriend’s new partner with a sawn-off shotgun. He had also injured his ex-girlfriend and shot policeman PC David Rathband, leaving him permanently blind.

The court heard that Graves had made a second telephone call to the police where he threatened to kill officers. His attack caused �124 of damage to the phone box and more than �450 of damage to the police car.

The 35-year-old had been abusing drugs for many years and was struggling to cope with spiralling debts of more than �15,000, said Matthew Radstone, mitigating.

“Those issues coupled with an argument he had with his partner on the night in question led him to effectively making a cry for help, which is what this offence is really,” said Mr Radstone. “He saw no way out. The only way out he saw was to ensure he was locked up in prison one way or another.”

The court heard that Graves, who had worked as a landscaper, had taken a “cocktail of drink and drugs” and was ashamed of his actions.

“He said that if the police officers were in court today he would personally apologise to them,” said Mr Radstone.

Jailing Graves for a year, Judge Anthony Bate said: “Police were called urgently to that scene after you made drink and drug fuelled threatening and abusive calls to the emergency services, including a particularly alarming reference to Raoul Moat, who we all know was found in Rothbury last summer.

“His fate is well known as also is the tragedy of the officer blinded by his actions before his death.”

Graves was sentenced to a year in prison for the affray, and concurrent sentences of four months imprisonment were passed for the three other charges.

“This is a shocking piece of public disorder and in my view only a period of immediate imprisonment can be justified,” said Judge Bate.

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