When bailiffs tried to seize a family’s canal boat home it triggered a violent confrontation which only ended when a police tactical unit was called in.
And father and son Sekou and David Tucker have both been jailed following the siege of the boat while it was moored at Brownsover Mooring in Rugby.
They and Sekou Tucker’s partner Kayley Lakey had all pleaded guilty at Warwick Crown Court to a charge of affray.
Sekou Tucker (58) whose address was given as Macquarie Way, East London, was jailed for nine months after entering his plea on the day of his trial.
David Tucker (20) of Swinton Court, Bethnall Green, who also admitted making threats to kill, was jailed for 14 months – and the case against Lakey (44) of Macquarie Way, was adjourned for a psychiatric report to be prepared on her.
Prosecutor Peter Cooper explained: “It was a boat-related incident as the Canal and River Trust sought to remove and confiscate two boats in the use of the defendants’ family.”
One was a cruiser called Misty, occupied by Sekou Tucker and Lakey, and the other was a smaller boat, Ursa Major, used by David Tucker.
“Both were unlicensed and unlawfully present on the waterways,” said Mr Cooper.
In April 2016 notices were fixed to both boats asking the owners to get in touch with the Trust, but there was no contact, so in July further notices were attached to the boats.
Again there was no response, and the boats, which had been moving around the waterways, were next seen in November 2016 when formal notices were affixed warning they would be removed if they were not taken from the water.
That was followed by a solicitor’s letter, served in February last year, explaining the Canal and River Trust’s right to remove the boats.
Nothing was done to comply with the notices, so court orders were obtained and served on both boats in June.
Enforcement action was taken, and when the boats were found at Brownsover Visitor Mooring in November, CRT employees, bailiffs and the police attended to implement the seizure.
When enforcement officers knocked on the windows, Sekou emerged from Misty and told them: “You’re not taking these boats. I’m not giving them up."
Warning that he would put up a fight, he added: “You’ll need an army to take these boats.”
David then emerged from the smaller boat, padlocked the hatch and joined his father on Misty, threatening: “Somebody will die today. You’ll need an army.”
And from inside the boat, Lakey could be heard shouting: “We’re not moving, you’re not taking this boat.”
She then came on deck, shouting at a female CRT employee: “F*** you bitch, you’re not removing me from this boat. I’m going to take a knife to you. I’m going to stab you and throw you in the canal.”
The officers withdrew briefly, before one returned with a police officer and tried to speak to the family, but Sekou again became aggressive and David threatened: “I’ll stick you.”
As that confrontation was taking place, the bailiff took the opportunity to remove the smaller boat.
Because of the threats, more officers and a police negotiating team were called in, but as they tried to reason with him, Sekou threatened to set fire to anyone who came on board.
“David joined in, threatening to kill any officer by knifing them or setting them on fire, and he was holding a petrol can in one hand, shaking it, and a lighter in the other, and Lakey threatened to set herself alight,” said Mr Cooper.
A police tactical unit was called in, and when they arrived at 9.40 that evening, with the family having retreated inside the boat, they used a crowbar to try to force entry – but it was grabbed by one of the men who swung it at them.
And one officer had to use his riot shield to deflect a knife that was swung in his direction.
Having backed off, the officers finally ended the siege by smashing the windows and aiming incapacitant sprays at the occupants, who were then removed from the boat and arrested, Mr Cooper added.