Driver who deliberately rammed five police cars during St Annes rampage was suffering ‘psychotic episode’
A frenzied driver who deliberately rammed five police cars during a rampage in St Annes was suffering a psychotic episode, Preston Crown Court was told. Watch more of our videos on Shots! and live on Freeview channel 276
One constable caught up in the mayhem on the streets of St Annes initially feared she was in the middle of a terrorist attack, Judge Richard Archer heard. Liam Laffan had to be tasered before he could be arrested when his battered Audi A4 was finally brought to a halt.
Pleading guilty to nine offences including dangerous driving, assaulting emergency workers and criminal damage, the 30-year-old father-of-three was detained under the Mental Health Act. The court was told two psychiatrists had both recommended the hospital order after hearing that Laffan had been responding to treatment since being held on remand in a special unit in Bury.
Liam Laffan deliberately rammed five police cars during a rampage in St Annes
Laffan, a plasterer, was said to have damaged his girlfriend’s car outside his home in Oxford Road, St Anne’s one morning in July last year. He had been struggling to sleep and had become paranoid.
When he drove off she called 999 and a series of police vehicles tried to apprehend him, but their vehicles were deliberately rammed. Two officers in separate cars were injured when their vehicles were smashed into by Laffan who then made indecent gestures as he drove off – blowing kisses to one of the injured drivers. Laffan also drove deliberately into the garden wall of a house as the chase went on through the streets of the resort.
One of the officers said in a statement read out in court that it was “a day I would like to forget.” He suffered injuries to his neck, back and shoulders and had to be out on light duties for days afterwards. He told the judge he was still in pain months later.
Laffan was said in court to have been under the influence of drugs when the incident happened. Barrister Mark Friend, representing Laffan, told Judge Archer: “There can be no doubt that the events of the 17th of August 2023 had their origins in his deteriorating mental health.” He said the fragility of his client’s mental health had caused a psychotic episode.
Laffan, he said, showed contrition and acceptance of his culpability.
“Any objective assessment must recognise he has made good progress since his removal from the prison estate and into the Cygnet Unit,” Judge Archer told Laffan.