Blacon laser culprit could have caused disaster


Staff reporter (Chester First)

A MAN who shone a laser pen at a police helicopter in flight could have caused a catastrophe.

At Chester Crown Court yesterday, Richard James Brooks, 28, of Bridgeman Road, Blacon, was found guilty by a unanimous jury verdict of conduct likely to endanger life.

The case has been adjourned for three weeks until February 12 to allow for the probation service to carry out a report.

Judge Elgan Edwards, who granted Brooks bail, told the defence: “This is a serious matter. The helicopter was in danger by reason of your client’s actions.”

Judge Edwards also thanked the jury for the diligence they  displayed.

The incident happened on August 11, 2012.

The helicopter crew had been in the Hoole area when they were targeted by a laser from the direction of Blacon.

On Wednesday, prosecutor Simon Parry said trained air observer PC Ann Reed had located an individual shining the light from a garden.

Mr Parry said PC Reed, who was onboard the aircraft, had identified the perpetrator as a male of fairly heavy build who was wearing a white T-shirt.

The crew of the helicopter directed police officers to the property where they found two women and two men.

“One of those was responsible for activating the laser,” said Mr Parry. “And the other male was wearing dark clothing.”

PC Reed had access to live footage in high definition. Recorded footage, which was shown in court, was of poorer quality.

He reminded jurors an expert had agreed live footage would have been superior.

Mr Parry said the point that determined the identity of the person who shone the light was when the perpetrator headed back to the house.

“At that point, the camera is in daylight mode,” Mr Parry said, “and you can see the person heading back – a figure in a light top.”

said PC Reed’s evidence in court did not match what had been recorded at the time .
Mr le Brocq said PC Reed had told the court she was 100 per cent confident Mr Brooks was the guilty party.

But he said on the soundtrack recorded that night, she was unable to pinpoint for officers on the ground which of the four individuals at the address was the individual she had observed.

See full story in the Chester Leader

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