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Suffolk town's hostage drama

PUBLISHED: 11:19 06 October 2001 | UPDATED: 10:37 03 March 2010

A MAN is under police arrest today, after a hostage drama which held a Suffolk town in suspense for more than five hours.

As the sun set on Eye last night, the silence on the streets belied the drama unfurling behind the closed doors of a house in the town, as the man held his wife and son hostage.

A MAN is under police arrest today, after a hostage drama which held a Suffolk town in suspense for more than five hours.

As the sun set on Eye last night, the silence on the streets belied the drama unfurling behind the closed doors of a house in the town, as the man held his wife and son hostage.

To all but those living nearby there was little to suggest anything out of the ordinary was taking place.

However, there seemed to be more police vehicles than usual near the police station, situated only a few yards away from where the incident was taking place. Officers were positioned at either end of Elizabeth Way and a stream of police vans and officers heading toward a house in the road indicated things were anything but normal.

Shortly after 3pm a 46-year-old man had entered the property and, claiming to be armed with a knife, taken his wife, to whom he was estranged, and their six-year-old son as hostages.

Armed officers and trained police negotiators were on the scene within moments of a phone call at 3.10pm from the woman to tell them her husband was at her home.

And so began hours of stand off and careful negotiations, that eventually brought the incident to a peaceful conclusion.

The man seemed happy to co-operate with police and at 5pm the six-year-old was released, but it was another four hours before he gave himself up and was arrested, and allowed mother and child to be reunited.

In the meantime a crowd of teenagers gathered at one end of the road eager to see what was happening, bemused by the sudden appearance of reporters, photographers and television cameras on their doorstep.

Others peered from behind net curtains in the comfort of their own homes to see what was happening.

For the other residents of Elizabeth Way there had been little opportunity to either leave or return to their properties. Some had let police officers use their homes as bases for negotiations and to keep an eye on the property in which the man was holding his wife prisoner.

One neighbour, who did not wish to be named, waited on the corner of the street with two bags of take-away food. He had been allowed out of his home but found he could not return until the incident had ended.

He was shocked to find something like this happening on his own doorstep.

"It's all a bit surprising," he said. "I only moved up here about five weeks ago.

"You don't expect this sort of thing in Eye – it's beautiful and so nice and quiet. You expect in London where I used to live.

"I've no idea who they are though."

Recalling how he found out about the hostage situation, he said: "It was about 3.30pm when my daughter was coming home from school. My wife looked out of the front door and saw a lot of police.

"My daughter was late and they were stopping people at the top of the road so my wife went out to find her.

"We've been stuck in doors ever since."

As everyone waited in anticipation to find out when and how the drama would unfold, watching from quite a distance away due to the cordoned off area, a group of police officers made their way up Elizabeth Way followed by a police van.

A few minutes later two officers led the 46-year-old man into the van while a woman, believed to be the wife he had held hostage, wearing a dressing gown was taken into an ambulance. She was not injured but had been left very shaken.

Moments later the police van drove away to take the man for questioning at Bury St Edmunds police station.

The small crowd of people watching slowly dispersed and other residents of Elizabeth Way were allowed to return to their houses although the area remained sealed off to allow the police to carry out their investigations.

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