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Last Updated: Friday, 29 September 2006, 19:41 GMT 20:41 UK
Loner gunman 'feared authority'
Stephen Hensby
Stephen Hensby shot Pc Lomas and then hurled petrol bombs
A police officer was shot by a loner who had a "deep seated fear of authority", an inquest has been told.

Stephen Hensby, 54, of Rawtenstall, Lancashire, died after shooting at two officers who came to speak to him over a claim of harassment from neighbours.

Burnley's Coroner's Court judged Mr Hensby's death to be suicide.

Police had surrounded his house on Hardman Street for 18 hours on 4 July last year, but Pc David Lomas was shot at when he entered the house.

Pc Lomas went to the house to investigate a complaint that Mr Hensby had threatened to burn down a barn belonging to a couple who lived nearby, with their dogs and horses inside.

Pc David Lomas
Pc Lomas was shot in the chest by Stephen Hensby
When police arrived he would not let them in so they forced entry after 20 minutes.

Pc Lomas said: "I saw him appear at the top of the stairs. It looked as if he was holding a single-barrelled shotgun in a gingerly manner.

"He was pointing at the floor and then he raised the gun, and the next thing I heard a loud bang."

Pc Lomas stumbled outside and collapsed.

'Crusty Man'

Mr Hensby then fired several shots outside the window of the upstairs bedroom and also threw petrol bombs onto the streets. He refused to cooperate with police.

Police decided to enter the house four hours after Pc Lomas had been shot but withdrew after more shots were fired.

The following morning they re-entered the house to find Mr Hensby dead in an upstairs bedroom.

Neighbour Jean Nield told the court he was known as Crusty Man and "had a deep-seated fear of both authority and the police and he did not like people in his home".

She added: "He had barricaded his stairs and had threatened to burn his house down because of the fear he would fall behind with rent payments."

Home Office pathologist Mary Carter said Mr Hensby died from a single gunshot wound to the head, which had been fired at close range.

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