Man with 19 aliases threatened to kill woman during stand-off with police

Stephen Robbens

Steven Robbens who was jailed at Norwich Crown Court. - Credit: Norfolk Constabulary

A man who sparked a police siege at a Norwich flat has been jailed for making threats to kill. 

Steven Robbens, 52, had pleaded guilty to threats including to cut a woman’s throat with a carving knife after refusing to leave a flat in Brewers Court.

Police were attempting to arrest him for recall to prison for breach of his licence on September 3 last year when his threats led to a stand-off with officers lasting several hours. 

Norwich Crown Court heard the wanted convict had also told police negotiators that he had handcuffed the woman and was armed with ammonia.

Prosecutor Jude Durr said police had attempted to smash in the door of the flat but had turned to negotiations after Robbens made threats. 

“In consequence of the resistance they met this turned into a protracted stand-off that didn’t finally come to an end until about 2.30am the following morning,” he said.

The stand-off was captured on the police officers’ body-worn video footage, some of which was played in court.

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“He tells one of the women to get into the kitchen and is heard to say 'if you come through the door I will hurt her'. He also says he has ammonia and handcuffs,” said Mr Durr.  

“The officers also recorded that he says that he will cut her throat with a carving knife.”

The court heard Robbens, who goes by the nickname ‘Strawberry’, was known by police to have 19 aliases and four fake dates of birth. 

Mr Durr said he had 67 previous convictions for a total of 237 offences and had most recently been jailed for burglary in July 2021. 

In 2015 he sparked a manhunt involving a police helicopter and dogs after running off towards Mousehold Heath when officers attempted to arrest him at Heathgate for recall to prison.

Michael Clare, mitigating, said the two women in the property, one of whom was his girlfriend at the time, had attempted to prevent Robbens arrest by refusing to open the door. 

“Fear for safety would have been tempered by the knowledge that she was supporting Robbens and didn’t want them at her door where he was a welcome guest,” he said.

But sentencing him to 10 months, Judge Anthony Bate said: “You made threats to the police officer outside the door of your home intending him to believe you were in deadly earnest.”