Author Topic: Terror for Upchurch Family,  (Read 2040 times)

Offline Lutonman

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Re: Terror for Upchurch Family,
« Reply #3 on: March 31, 2023, 09:50:57 PM »
I was involved in the siege in 1991, I was called to Upchurch as the gunman was threatening to blow the house up by turning the gas on and  then trying to ignite it. I was stationed at the end of the road with my small team of Gas engineers supposedly shut down the gas mains if the threat became real.  Standing next to policeman wearing hand guns was a very real and strange feeling. The story we heard was that the man cut out the base of the bed in the next doors house and hid in that whilst the police checked around. When he thought it was safe he went on the run across the fields and picke dup by two local policeman. All the others had long been stood down.

Offline stuartwaters

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Re: Terror for Upchurch Family,
« Reply #2 on: March 30, 2023, 10:47:23 AM »
Brilliant, thank you. I must admit to having a giggle about the fugitive hiding in the attic above the police who were looking for him.
"I did not say the French would not come, I said they will not come by sea" - Admiral Sir John Jervis, 1st Earl St Vincent.

Offline grandarog

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Terror for Upchurch Family,
« Reply #1 on: March 29, 2023, 06:03:26 PM »
 ArticlesI wrote for our Parish Magazine.                         

                                   Terror for Upchurch Family,
During the afternoon in early February 1972 two men were stopped by a police patrol at Upchurch. They were carrying suitcases and resisted arrest .One of the men squirted ammonia in a constables face . One man was arrested and the other fled. A major hunt started around the area for the fugitive.
Much later at about one o’clock in the night, a man posing as a Policeman, gained entry to the family home of Mr Ray Rahman along Chaffes Lane. It was the fugitive fleeing the Police. He was armed and told them he needed to hide in their house. He ordered everyone out of bed and into the front room. The atmosphere was obviously very tense but fearing for the safety of themselves, three children and Mother in Law, Mrs Clemens who were present, Mrs Rayman made a cup of tea to calm the situation. The Gunman appeared nervous and apparently kept fiddling with the gun and ammunition on his lap. When Mr Rayman was allowed to use the outside toilet he took the risky chance to alert a Special Constable living nearby.
 An armed Police Cordon was set up around the house and the neighbours having been evacuated, the siege began. Mr Haslam, the deputy chief Constable of Kent who was the only Policeman in Civilian clothes started negotiations with the gunman by posing as a Council Welfare Officer, concerned with the safety of the children in the house. During the negotiations the gunman released the youngest child and then Mrs Clemens was sent out, allegedly to go and fetch a car for his escape. At this point Mr Haslam approached the house and persuaded the Gunman to let him in to check on the children. This resulted in the gunman being arrested and Mr Haslam receiving minor injury. And the siege was over.
The incident was widely reported in the National and local Papers with differing editorial licence varying the account. Probably following a Police Press release .
All the reports indicate that the siege lasted about Seven hours ending with the Gunman’s arrest shortly after Eight o’clock in the morning. Either the Gunman was overcome and arrested in the house by Mr Haslam or he was pounced on by police as He and Mr Haslam left the house with one of the Daughters as a Hostage.
Interestingly these accounts differ widely from local legends. Some say the siege lasted for 3 days with the whole road cordoned off. Armed Police were everywhere and had set up an observation post from a neighbouring bedroom window. There are varying stories of the house being entered and the Gunman was not there. Others say he had gained entry to next door via the attics and hid under a child’s bed later fleeing through the front door. Reports vary of his eventual arrest. One suggests being chased along Bishops Lane to the allotments .Another says he fled into surrounding Orchards before being captured. Yet another says he was arrested at Shoregate Wharf while escaping in a boat.
                                                                       ROGER HARRIS.

Terror for Upchurch Families. Part Two

After the 1972 siege it is amazing that Chaffes Lane was subjected to another involving a dangerous escaped convict and armed Police almost 20 years later in 1991.
Simon Bowman who was serving 10 yrs in Durham Prison for armed robbery had escaped on New Years Eve . He was nearly caught in Durham during January after breaking into a house but eluded Police.
 Early in February Kent Police received information from Durham that he had been holed up for at least 2 weeks at 30,Chaffes Lane home of an associate Lisa an her 2 children.
During the afternoon of Sunday 17th February Armed Police surrounded the house, Lisa and her children escaped out of the front door to safety. (Later Lisa was taken into Custody for questioning at Sittingbourne Police Station .Police were convinced Bowman was in the property. A prolonged siege of No 30 then began during which surrounding neighbours were evacuated for their safety. No 28. the Bennett Families semi detached next door house, became a command and surveillance base. Holes were drilled in walls for sound and heat sensors. Armed Police were stationed at vantage points covering the house. After 40 hours 2 days later when the police had failed to make contact or found any sign of Bowman’s presence, they stormed the house and after searching declared it empty , They stating he must have eluded them and called off the siege.
Now came the Bizarre embarrassing twist in the story for the Police, which resulted in a later inquiry .The area having been declared safe residents were allowed back to their homes. Mr Bennett and his family returned to 28 only to find Bowman hiding under a bed upstairs. Bowman had been hiding in the attic above the heads of the Police the whole time. He had removed bricks and crawled through the fire wall. Mr and Mrs Bennett quickly fled into the street and alerted Police who were still clearing up equipment from the siege. Making his escape from the kitchen window witnessed by neighbour Darren Hill, Bowman fled. A Police chase ensued before he was finally caught and arrested at the Village Allotments. During the chase he threw a gun away. He was brought before the Sittingbourne Magistrates the next morning and charged. He later appeared and was sentenced at Durham Magistrates Court,where he was returned to Prison. 
Roger Harris.

Adendum:-
I must thank Mrs Mollie Harriss  of Chaffes Lane a witness to both sieges for pointing out that the Village legends of the escape mentioned in last Months1972 Article were incorrect and in fact referred to this later siege. Roger.