Oxted siege 1973

1973: Oxted: PC Chris Kersey was shot in the face and a siege followed broken by deploying CS Gas.

Bob Sinden: I only attended one operational Gas and Gun Squad incident. This was at Oxted when a young PC was shot through the face. The PC was only helping a bailiff serve a writ on some old man over a boundary dispute.

The Gas and Gun squad surrounded the house and Wally Simmons tried talking him out. The old boy smashed the glass out of his kitchen window with his gun barrel and took pot shots at us in the garden. It was like the wild and woolly west. We eventually put in enough CS gas to evacuate the Albert Hall and went in after him.

He put up a fight snatching off a couple of our gas masks, one was mine, but we eventually dragged him out. We were taken off to Redhill General Hospital to be decontaminated. I remember this pretty young nurse leaning over me bathing my face and eyes with tears running down her cheeks. It was the CS gas wafting from my hair!

Alan Bridgeman: In 1973 PC Chris Kearsey was shot in the face when attending a house to serve a summons on an OAP. The offender was aggrieved that the local council or some such wanted money from him, and vented his spleen on the first enemy representative to arrive at his door – a uniform PC.

The occupant used a shotgun, and a major incident developed as officers attended to arrest him. PC John Worgan attended as a dog handler, and I'm sure he can tell a fine tale of what happened amongst the CS gas sprays inside the house; I seem to recall that while Police Support Units gathered outside, the offender's wife carried on doing the ironing inside – but then I wasn't there! I'm glad to report that Chris is still with us, and still riding a motorcycle with considerable skill – and he still looks lovely!

John Molyneux: On the Sunday that Chris Kearsey was shot in the face, I was desk sergeant at Reigate and Arthur Crawford was my inspector. We were both members of the force firearms squad, and after drawing our revolvers from the armoury, went to the scene.

A standoff ensued and permission was sought of the chief constable for CS gas to be used. Permission was given and it was fired into the bedroom of the house by Inspector Crawford, setting the curtains alight. When Chief Constable Peter Matthews was informed, he was not amused. However, this ended the siege, the man was arrested and the curtains extinguished.

Bob Sinden was one of the founder members of the police firearms team. He formed a part of what was called the Gas Squad. Chris Kersey was shot in the face with a shotgun as he knocked on the front door of a house. The perpetrator who was in his seventies then withdrew into the house threatening anyone who came near.

After a lengthy siege it was decided that the police should go into the house and get him out. He had been firing from the house at police officers outside. PC Dave Bowden fired in the gas, and Arthur Crawford, Roger Weedon, Bob Sinden and others made the entry and the man was arrested.

There was a hard fight during which the suspect pulled off Bob's gas mask. It was all a bit grim. At one point Arthur Crawford was a split second away from opening fire; Bob was the one who had staggered into his line of fire.

The suspect fired numerous shots from the house and in a similar situation to the earlier siege at Tranquil Dale; the superintendent was to be gassed. He stood too close to an airbrick in the wall as the gas was fired into the premises. Also as the gas was fired the curtain's caught on fire a problem to be repeated on other occasions when these hot rounds were used.

Chris Kirsley survived and was to return to work in due course.

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