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Blind one-legged man wins arse-kicking contest

Rum-fuelled piratical rampage quelled by Taser

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A partially-sighted, one-legged man who had consumed a substantial quantity of rum was accused of attempted murder after he set about four American policemen single-handed earlier this week brandishing an assortment of cutting and stabbing weapons. The understandably alarmed plods subdued their assailant by the use of a Taser electroprod gun.

The Pueblo Chieftain reports today on the fracas, which took place on Monday in Colorado. According to court statements, four Pueblo cops responded to an emergency call made by a member of the public.

On arrival, the officers found James Ray Howard, 42, "shirtless on his front lawn" while brandishing a steak knife and a 12-inch metal spike. Howard later told police that he had consumed "a pint of rum" and unspecified prescription medication prior to the encounter. He is reportedly "legally blind" and has had one foot amputated, besides suffering from "other maladies".

According to the cops, on sighting them Howard uttered "threatening remarks" and made at them in an "aggressive manner". His aspect was sufficiently alarming that the cops understandably declined to engage in any hand-to-hand combat, despite their assailant's presumably limited abilities.

One officer discharged his Taser, planting the weapon's twin barbs into Howard's head and shoulder and zapping him with a crippling electric current. The legless one-legged scuffler was then disarmed and "brought under control".

The encounter was apparently sufficiently upsetting that the responding plods originally recommended a charge of attempted first-degree murder against Howard, but in the event he was written up only for first-degree assault. Perhaps having in mind the cops' advantages in numbers, limbs and un-addled mental processes during the Monday dustup, prosecutors eventually settled for a plea of guilty to a misdemeanour resisting-arrest charge.

The Chieftain reports that Howard is eligible for probation, and will be sentenced in November. His mother reportedly told police that he had been upset because his wife departed overseas some time ago and he hasn't heard from her for two months.

There was nothing in the report, but it's hard not to speculate that Howard may be keen to get home in order to feed his parrot. ®

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