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Man shot police officer with crossbow and set house on fire

Christopher Hutchison fired bolts before starting a blaze at his South Lanarkshire home.

A man shot a police officer with a crossbow before setting fire to his own house.

Christopher Hutchison fired bolts at Sergeant Stuart Morrison at his home in Blantyre, South Lanarkshire, last October.

Armed police were called after the 37-year-old was seen with the potentially deadly weapon.

Sgt Morrison escaped without any serious injury before Hutchison went on to set fire to his home.

A judge heard Hutchison was in "self-destruct mode" following the death of his cancer stricken dad two days earlier.

He has now been jailed after pleading guilty to charges of assault, culpable and reckless as well as wilful fire-raising.

Blantyre: Street was on lockdown.
Blantyre: Street was on lockdown.

Hutchison had a recent jail term for hurling items, including heaters and a chest of drawers, at police.

Lady Rae warned him to expect a "significant" prison sentence when he returns to the dock next month.

The High Court in Glasgow heard police were initially called to Hutchison's home on the morning of October 24 following reports of a disturbance.

Hutchison was soon spotted with a loaded crossbow.

His house was near two different schools leading to the area being made "secure" as firearms officers were alerted.

Prosecutor Sean Smith QC said the weapon was described as "powerful" capable of causing "serious injury".

Mr Smith: "Firing bolts (from the crossbow) carried clear disregard for the safety of others."

'Firing bolts (from the crossbow) carried clear disregard for the safety of others.'
Prosecutor Sean Smith QC

Sgt Morrison was one of the armed officers outside the property.

He was 10 metres away when Hutchison discharged the crossbow with a bolt going through a closed door and striking the policeman.

However, it only broke the skin on the officer's arm.

A police negotiator was then called to try and calm Hutchison, whose girlfriend was also in the house at the time.

But he continued to fire the crossbow out of a window onto the street.

At one point, he shouted that it was a "warning" to police.

He eventually dropped the weapon but only after claiming he had "run out of bolts".

Hutchison then yelled his "neighbours better be out" claiming he had petrol and was going to set fire to his house.

He went on to torch curtains in the lounge and an upturned bed in a room.

The court heard the blaze spread "rapidly" with the property badly damaged.

Both Hutchison and his partner were eventually taken out of the house.

Flames: He torched his own house.
Flames: He torched his own house. STV

Euan Dow, defending, said Hutchison's father had died two days before the crimes.

The advocate added Hutchison had a "very demanding role" as his dad's carer and appeared to suffer a "bereavement breakdown" that day.

Mr Dow told the court: "In the morning in question, he was in self destruct mode.

"It is clear, taking him at his word, that he did not care if he lived or died himself and appeared hellbent in provoking the firearms officers."

Lady Rae remanded him in custody and deferred sentencing for reports.

But, she told Hutchison: "These are very serious offences. A number of people, including yourself, are fortunate that you are not on more serious charges.

"While I appreciate there may have been bereavement issues, many people have them, but do not react the way you did."

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