by PHIL HARRISON
TERRIFIED residents could only watch on in horror as an axe-wielding 'maniac' caused thousands of pounds worth of damage during a rampage through an Essex village on Wednesday evening.
Residents living along Patricia Gardens, in Billericay, were left in shock after their cars and homes were destroyed by a 46-year-old man wielding a four-foot axe just after 6pm on Wednesday evening.
Police received a 999 call at around 6.10pm on Wednesday, 15 February following reports of a domestic incident in Patricia Gardens in which a woman had been assaulted and a man had left the property armed with an axe.
Two women, aged in their 40s, received minor injuries after being assaulted during the 20-minute rampage.
Armed police arrived on the scene shortly before 6.30pm and fired a baton round at the man in order to subdue him.
He was taken to Basildon University Hospital where he was treated for abdominal injuries under police guard. He was discharged on Thursday lunchtime and is now being questioned by detectives at Basildon police station.
Emma Page, 22, who lives along Patricia Gardens and witnessed the incident, told the Enquirer : “It was like something out of a movie – he was destroying people’s cars and smashing front windows but all we could do was watch on in horror.
“I was scared to open the curtains and look out just incase he came over. All you could hear was the sound of smashing glass.
“The guy was a maniac and at one point he broke into a home and had one of our neighbours by the throat with the axe. She escaped but then her daughter had to lock herself in the bathroom to avoid him.
“We kept calling the police but they took 20 minutes to finally get here – they were lucky it wasn’t too late!
“When the police eventually got here they were screaming at him to drop his weapon and he shouted ‘shoot me, shoot me now!’ - it was terrifying.
“I’ve never been so scared in my life.”
Basildon district commander, Chief Insp Glen Pavelin, said: “I appreciate that this incident has caused a lot of concern and distress to the local community, but I would like to reassure residents that the appropriate victim care is being put in place for all those affected, and they will be offered any victim support that they require. Incidents like this are extremely rare and it is important to remember this, but we will remain in the area for the immediate future to offer the reassurance and support that the residents need.
“I have informed and briefed Basildon Council, the MP for Billericay and Neighbourhood Watch groups so they can also offer the appropriate support to any affected residents. The local schools will also be notified, which will mean that any children that may have witnessed this will have the appropriate educational welfare support if required on Monday.”