Man is given nine life terms for gun rampage

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A gun-obsessed former security guard was given nine life sentences at the Old Bailey yesterday for a rampage in which he fired at police and members of the public.

Judge Forrester commended the "bravery and calmness" of people who found themselves in the firing line, and told George Knights: "It is a miracle no one was hurt or killed." The judge said he had a duty to protect the public and it was obvious that Knights' obsession with guns made him a danger.

Knights, 42, of Feltham, west London, was convicted last month of 19 offences including kidnap and possessing firearms and home-made grenades.

In addition to the life sentences, he was given a series of concurrent jail sentences of up to eight years.

The court was told that the rampage began in west London, as Knights tried to escape police who had stopped him for an out-of-date tax disc last May. He fired bursts from an assault rifle, puncturing the tyres of a police vehicle, hijacked cars and took a driver hostage before being surrounded by police at his home. They stormed the flat after hearing a gunshot and an explosion.

Judge Forrester told Knights: I have no doubt that you pose an unusually high degree of risk ...You caused havoc, fear and distress."