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'Possessed' man locks down GP surgery with 'extreme' violence

Jul 03, 2023Jul 03, 2023

Jonathan Keegan chased GP patients then hurled a pole javelin-style at a police officer's chest

A "possessed" man laid siege to a GP surgery and pharmacy before throwing a metal pole at a police officer's chest in a "javelin" motion. Jonathan Keegan wreaked such "mayhem" that the Mount Surgery and Taibach Pharmacy in Port Talbot were placed under lockdown, Swansea Crown Court heard.

Judge Paul Thomas KC described the 52-year-old's violence on December 19 last year as "extreme". He told Keegan: "Over a 15-minute period you went berserk. You were wholly out of control. [At the surgery] you repeatedly battered a Perspex screen, threw paperwork around, chased people and took a fire extinguisher. Not content with causing mayhem around the surgery, you walked the short distance to the pharmacy and aggressively hit the window 40 to 50 times with a hand-sanitiser dispenser, eventually succeeding in smashing it."

Police arrived to find Keegan standing inside the chemist's and hitting the front window with a 4ft-long metal pole. Although the window had already shattered, Keegan continued to ram the pole through the hole in the middle, sending shards of glass flying. Officers described him as being in "a possessed state".

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The court heard that officers shouted at Keegan to put the pole down and used a Taser on him "several times", including on his chest, yet it appeared to have no effect. The officers were looking for a route out of the pharmacy for terrified staff and customers, but Keegan was blocking the only exit.

Keegan then threw the pole in a "javelin-like motion" at PC Lewis Evans and it struck his chest, although no injuries were mentioned in court. The officers then sprayed Keegan with PAVA, which finally allowed them to begin restraining him. He continued to resist and pulled off one officer's tactical vest before he was eventually brought under control. Police found 7.7g of amphetamine and 1.4g of cannabis on him.

It was not the first time drugs had played a role in bizarre behaviour by Keegan, who was jailed in 2010 after performing an indecent act on himself in Kenfig Nature Reserve while carrying 3.1g of amphetamine in his underpants. Keegan, naked but for the underwear and a white suspender belt, exposed himself in full view of a dog walker.

Following the pharmacy and surgery chaos, Keegan, of no fixed address, admitted affray, assaulting a police officer, possession of Class B drugs and criminal damage. He has 26 previous offences on his record, including two exposures. At the time of the Taibach incident he was under a community order for assaulting two police officers.

Ashanti-Jade Walton, prosecuting, said Keegan caused "serious fear and distress". In a statement to the court, the receptionist said: "I felt shaken and vulnerable. I experienced this while doing my daily duties in my workplace. I should not have been subjected to this behaviour."

Jon Tarrant, mitigating, said his client was remanded in custody following the violence. As he was cut off from drugs his behaviour "started deteriorating more" and a mental health order was considered, but he later appeared to "turn a corner", the solicitor added.

"The defendant's father, who sits in the public gallery, says his son's mental health ebbs and flows," Mr Tarrant told the court. "There are times when his mentality is good and he stays well away from difficulties... The drug link is clear."

Mr Tarrant acknowledged his client had at times been "aggressive" while in custody but described him as appearing "lucid" for his sentencing. "He doesn't remember the incident but he clearly exhibits remorse for those involved and for letting his family down," said the solicitor.

Judge Thomas said Keegan's behaviour was "extremely frightening" for those nearby and caused £4,500 worth of damage. "There have been various psychiatric reports on you," he told the defendant. "Clearly there is a complex picture here in respect to underlying mental illness and your extravagant use of drugs whenever you can get your hands on them... You are a dangerously unpredictable man."

The judge jailed Keegan for 20 months, half of which will be in custody — meaning he has around four months remaining given the time he has served since his arrest. You can read more of the latest Welsh court news here.


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