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Mentally-ill farmer killed police dog with a scythe.

Byline: By Robin Turner Western Mail

A farmer killed a police dog with a three-foot-long scythe and wrecked two patrol cars with a tractor in a siege at his home, a court heard yesterday. Glyn Lewis, 35, eventually cornered in his milking parlour, appeared impervious to pepper spray and lashed out at officers with the scythe before being felled with a blow from an extendable baton. Yesterday at Swansea Crown Court Mr Justice Roderick Evans imposed a hospital order plus a restriction order 'without time limit' on Lewis which means he cannot be released until deemed no risk to the public.

In the dock, surrounded by support staff from Bridgend's Caswell psychiatric clinic, he admitted criminal damage, attempted wounding and destroying the police dog, an eight-year-old German Shepherd named Bryn.

The terrifying siege on September 10 last year was the culmination of a series of increasingly bizarre delusions the farmer was suffering, the court heard.

Up until five years ago he was living an idyllic life with his wife and two children on the Lewis family farm, Longridge, overlooking the seaside village of Laugharne made famous by writer Dylan Thomas. But soon after taking over the running of the business from his father Gwyn, paranoid schizophrenia, as it was later diagnosed, started taking a grip on him.

At first his father called his behaviour 'strange and erratic' and then he started believing the police were trying to poison him with mind bending drugs.

Lewis's marriage collapsed when he started believing his wife was 'involved in the plot'.

Stephen Rees, prosecuting, said that at one point Lewis believed the police were drugging him as he slept in his bed.

His solution was to begin sleeping in his car and, believing his door was being watched, he would only enter his farmhouse via the bedroom window using a ladder.

He thought taxi drivers were working with the police to watch him and Mr Rees said living alone on the farm did nothing to help Lewis's condition.

Finally he started suspecting his father of sprinkling what he called 'policing dust' around his home.

It would lead to the siege which could ultimately allow psychiatrists to discover how badly affected the farmer was by his condition.

Lewis confronted his father on Sunday September 10 at the seafront car park in Laugharne, landing a punch on his father's face.

While Mr Lewis senior did not want to report the matter, a villager saw what happened and called in the police.

That evening, just after 7pm, three Dyfed-Powys Police officers in a Volvo and a Honda 4x4 went to Longridge Farm to speak to Lewis.

Mr Rees said as they pulled up at the farmhouse they saw Lewis at the wheel of a tractor equipped with forward pointing silage spikes driving at speed towards them.

One officer jumped clear of the tractor, narrowly avoided being impaled then all three ran from the scene across fields, hotly pursued by Lewis in the tractor.

The escaping officers commandeered a car being driven past the farm by an elderly couple and made good their escape.

They called in reinforcements including dog handlers and a police helicopter as Lewis used the tractor to roll the wrecked police cars away from his farm.

Mr Rees said they watched as he then attended to milking his cows 'appearing to be oblivious and untroubled'.

The police tried to lure him out of the milking parlour by turning off its electricity but when he failed to emerge they were forced to go in.

An officer gave police dog Bryn the instruction 'hold him' but the animal was felled by a blow from the long scythe and died soon after.

PC David Davies, behind the dog, described the defendant's eyes as 'wide and staring'.

Damage to the police cars was put at pounds 32,676, damage to officers' personal property at pounds 568 and the cost of replacing and training an animal like Bryn pounds 12,000. A forensic consultant psychiatrist said Lewis had made a slight improvement but was still mentally ill. He added it would be at the very least two years before he could even be considered for discharge from treatment.
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Publication:Western Mail (Cardiff, Wales)
Date:Feb 28, 2007
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