Bike thieves battling police allege they killed an officer in reference to the murder of PC Andrew Harper, a court heard.
Vuitton Robbins, 18, known as Tom, and Akay Coaker, 20, were convicted Friday of several counts of robbery, burglary and violent misdemeanor.
A third defendant, Reiss James, 21, was also set to face sentencing but his hearing has been adjourned due to the delay in obtaining a pre-sentencing report.
Read Crown Court heard them throw rockets, boiling water and radiators at police in an act of “pure hatred”.
The young men even tried to set fire to the gas meter at the entrance to the property, hoping it would cause an explosion.
One of the defendants was heard screaming, “An officer is being killed, don’t worry, it’s a Newbury thing!” – referencing the death of PC Harper who was dragged a mile behind a car by burglars in 2019.
Violent confrontation lasts four hours
The violent standoff lasted four hours and caused around £5,000 worth of damage to the flat – with objects such as the microwave and sofa being thrown down the stairs in an attempt to barricade the property.
The incident took place on December 8 last year at a flat on Caversham Road in Reading, Berkshire.
Police arrived at the address around 5:40am to arrest the three men in a series of thefts of bicycles and electric bicycles in Berkshire and Oxfordshire.
But instead of surrendering, the three men barricaded the door and started firing rockets at police officers on the street.
Rockets were soon followed by two radiators which threw them out the window, one of them hitting an officer on the head. The officer’s injuries were not life-threatening.
The men also hurled glass objects, plant pots, a kettle and boiling water at officers. Police had to quickly close the road and a nearby primary school was forced to close that day due to the disorder the men caused.
They then tried to set fire to the gas meter at the entrance to the property, hoping it would cause an explosion, or get officers closer to the building so they could throw more missiles at them.
During the standoff, Robbins could be heard yelling at police officers.
He said, “Come on, come on in, let’s play. There’s no way you can get in here, I’ll blow your head off.”
He also yelled, “An officer is getting killed, don’t worry, it’s a Newbury thing!”
Mark Trafford, the lawyer prosecuting Robbins and Coaker’s conviction on Friday, said the comment related to PC Harper who was killed on August 15, 2019 near Sulhamstead, Berkshire.
Harper was responding to a report of a break-in when he was dragged a mile behind a car, causing his death.
‘Sheer act of hatred towards police’
Robbins, of Amity Street, yelled other insults at officers, leading one officer to describe the incident as a “pure act of hatred towards the police”.
After a four-hour standoff, the men were finally arrested and taken into custody.
Sentencing Judge Sarah Campbell heard that Robbins was the main instigator, with Reiss backing him up.
Coaker, on the other hand, was previously acquitted of violent disorder by a jury, but pleaded guilty to damaging the flat during the incident.
Robbins pleaded guilty to six robberies with an estimated value of £19,748.98 and five burglaries with a proven value of £10,360. He also admitted arson, criminal damage and two attempted grievous bodily harm.
James pleaded guilty to seven robberies with an estimated value of £18,289.98 and five burglaries with a proven value of £3,860. He also admitted violent disorder and criminal damage.
Judge Sarah Campbell decided to jail Robbins, of Amity Street in Reading, for five years and six months in a juvenile detention center.
Coaker, of Benson Close, Reading, was sentenced to 22 months in prison for juvenile offenders.
James, of Shirley Avenue, also in Reading, will be sentenced on September 6.
Expand your horizons with award-winning British journalism. Try The Telegraph for 1 month free, then enjoy 1 year for just $9 with our US exclusive offer.