Pair behind ‘takeaway siege’ at Bedford flat jailed

Paul Turner throws an item from the balcony of the Bury Court flat. Image: Bedfordshire Police
Paul Turner throws an item from the balcony of the Bury Court flat. Image: Bedfordshire Police

Two men who started a 14-hour siege at a block of flats in Bedford, after complaining about their takeaway being late and cold, have been jailed.

Paul Burton, 45, and Nathan Turner, 37, who had been drinking vodka and taking drugs, also kept the delivery man prisoner in a lift at the Bury Court flats in Church Lane for two hours.

Clapham Cars

They played loud music leaving others living in the flats at their wits end.

Burton even fired an air rifle at a police car’s windscreen, while Turner hurled paint and plant pots at police and civilian cars parked outside the eighth floor of the flats.

Read: Two men charged with 17 offences following Bury Court stand-off

Paul Burton with the rifle in a corridor outside his Burton Court flat. Image supplied by Bedfordshire Police
Paul Burton with the air rifle in a corridor outside his Burton Court flat. Image supplied by Bedfordshire Police

Prosecutor Adrian Fleming told Luton crown court today that at around 3am on the morning of 27 November last year, the two men ordered a kebab.

The delivery driver could not gain access. When he eventually arrived on the eighth floor in a lift the two defendants placed a coffee table across the door so it could not close and the delivery man could not leave.

“The defendants ate the food in the hallway and made him (the driver) put his hand in the food telling him it was cold,” he said.

The owner of the food business arrived at the flat after receiving abusive calls from Turner. The driver left in a distressed state and went off with the owner. Something was thrown at the car, causing a dent in his car roof.

Mr Fleming said a neighbour was at her “wit’s end” because of the noise of the men’s music. When she banged and kicked on the door, Burton appeared with a 3-foot-long black rifle.

The music was turned down, but was turned up again and she saw Burton pointing the rifle at her front door.

Church Lane is closed from Queen's Drive to Cricket Lane
Bury Court, off Church Lane, was the scene of the stand-off in November 2022.

Armed police

The woman had called the police and she was evacuated by 10 o’clock while armed officers surrounded the block of flats.

Burton warned police that he would, “Shoot the first officer that walks through the door.”

From 20 metres away, Burton fired at the windscreen of a police vehicle. The glass was partially pierced and the officer behind the wheel reversed away at speed.

“He thought he was going to die,” said the prosecutor.

The siege continued throughout the day with Turner throwing paint and plants from the balcony. Three police and two civilian cars were damaged. The damage to the police cars was said to be £4,700.

Turner also posted a 90-second video on his Facebook page in which he showed a “contemptuous attitude” to the police.

He gave himself up at 12.34pm. Burton finally came out a 5:49pm, 14 hours after the siege began.

Burton, of Bury Court, Church Lane, Bedford, pleaded guilty to attempting to cause grievous bodily harm and two charges of possessing a firearm without a certificate.

Turner, of a neighbouring flat in Bury Court, Church Lane, Bedford, admitted affray and four charges of criminal damage.

(l-r) Nathan Turner and Paul Burton. Images: Bedfordshire Police
(l-r) Nathan Turner and Paul Burton. Images: Bedfordshire Police

For Burton, Lawrence Selby said he had a history of mental health problems and drug and alcohol abuse.

“He accepts his behaviour was disgraceful and totally unacceptable,“ he said.

Mr Selby said he was remorseful and wanted help. While in prison he has been drug and alcohol-free and receiving assistance with mental health issues.

William Durrands, for Turner, said he was bipolar and at the time had been suffering a bereavement and separation from his family. While on remand in prison, he had been attacked, suffering a fractured skull, broken eye socket and fractured shoulder.

Sentencing them, Judge David Farrell KC said the siege was “an appalling and terrifying incident”, calling it an “extremely disturbing and frightening siege in which a firearm was present.

“Significant police resources were used and there was considerable distress and disturbance to residents at the block of flats.”

He jailed Burton for seven years. Turner was sentenced to 20 months but is likely to be released immediately because of the time he has served on remand.

Detective Chief Superintendent William Hodgkinson, from Bedfordshire Police, said: “This kind of mindless and dangerous behaviour is completely unacceptable.

“The behaviour of these men left innocent people fearing for their lives, caused disruption to dozens of innocent people and also took considerable police resources to resolve.

“I am glad that we were able to resolve this issue so professionally and whilst they have both been in custody ever since, I am pleased their appalling behaviour has been met with such strong prison sentences.”

Reporting by South Beds News Agency
Additional reporting by Paul Hutchinson for the Bedford Independent

Keep Local news Alive in Bedfordshire