A man who walked into a bank armed with an axe in the hope that police would shoot him dead has described his actions as a “desperate cry for help”.
Ryan Seddon, who suffers with mental illness, said he wanted to die but was “too chicken” to kill himself.
He said the incident at Barclays Bank in St Werburgh Street in Chester last October was the result of a “build-up of failures” by social services.
Reflecting on the ordeal, which saw the bank evacuated as police swooped, Ryan said: “On that day, I just wanted to die. It was a desperate cry for help.
“I went into B&Q and bought a knife and a three-foot axe.
“I was going to slit my own throat but didn’t have the nerve, so I decided to get a taxi to Chester, where the police force wouldn’t know me as they recognise me in North Wales.
“I walked into the bank with the axe tucked down my trousers but didn’t cause any fear or alarm.
“One of the members of staff took me into a side room thinking I wanted to talk about bank services.
“I asked her for a pen and a piece of paper because I couldn’t verbalise what I wanted to do.
“I wrote on the piece of paper: ‘It’s not about the bank. I’m not going to hurt anyone. I don’t want the money, I just need you to evacuate the building because I am armed and I want to be shot by the police.’
“I never actually got the axe out as I knew I wasn’t going to hurt anyone.”
Ryan said the manager was summoned and all the members of staff and customers left the bank without knowing what was going on.
“The police were called and the manager offered to sit with me until they arrived but, when I heard them shouting from outside, I told her to leave as I didn’t want them to think I had taken her hostage,” he recalled.
“They burst in with the taser team and the dogs and I just broke down and cried.
“That’s when one of the officers said: ‘We’re going to get you the right help now.’”
Ryan said his “breaking point” was the culmination of “failings” which followed his release in 2014 from the Ablett Unit at Ysbyty Glan Clwyd, where he had been sectioned for arson with reckless endangerment.
“After they let me out, I was promised help to deal with my mental health issues, but I never got the right support,” said Ryan.
“I begged to be re-sectioned but I was told I didn’t meet the criteria.
“I felt suicidal but I am too chicken to end my own life.
“I thought if I went into the bank with an axe, the police would do the job for me, but I was just arrested and put into a cell.
“I’ve been on remand at the medium secure unit for a year while all of this has been going on.”
After the incident, Ryan pleaded guilty to two counts of possession of a bladed article and was due to be sentenced in January.
But the hearing was delayed after Judge Roger Dutton ruled he should be transferred from prison to a hospital for an “investigatory period” of three months.
The sentencing, which had already been delayed twice for mental health assessments and psychiatric reports, was then due to take place in April, but was put off again several times until it eventually took place on Wednesday.
It was then that Ryan was given an indefinite hospital order with restrictions.
Judge Raj Shetty accepted the hospital order with a restriction was an “exceptional course”, and said he hoped Ryan could ultimately be released back into the community following treatment.
Ryan said: “What I really need is a care plan that’s going to work, otherwise I am being set up to fail.
“I am only 23. I don’t want to be unwell. I just want to get on with my life.”
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