A JUDGE has thrown two Isle of Wight men in jail after he heard how they rained debris down on police officers during a three-hour rooftop siege.

Nino Bear Cavanagh, 28, and Lewis Brandon Morera-Morgan, 21, admitted affray and causing criminal damage at properties in Lowtherville Road, Upper Ventnor, on the afternoon of July 29.

Morera-Morgan, of Trinity Road, Ventnor, also admitted inflicting grievous bodily harm, without intent, against Jonathan Ritchie, at his home in Albert Street, Ventnor, during the early hours of June 20.

Cavanagh, of Kestrel Way, Carisbrooke Park, who was with Morera-Morgan during the assault, also admitted the theft of Mr Ritchie's mobile phone. 

Morera-Morgan also breached a conditional discharge imposed by Island magistrates in March 2019 for possessing an offensive weapon, namely a knuckleduster.

Regarding the incident at Mr Ritchie's home, there was a flashpoint in which Morera-Morgan claimed the excessive force he had used was in self-defence.

The assault left Mr Ritchie with a black eye, a broken nose and abrasions to his face, arms and chest, which the victim said left him feeling pain and affected his confidence, said Gary Venturi, prosecuting, at the Isle of Wight Crown Court today (Tuesday).

Cavanagh claimed the theft was him picking up Mr Ritchie's phone in error and had left his own at the victim's property.

With both wanted for the assault on Mr Ritchie, police tracked down the suspects at an Upper Ventnor address.

Both were aware officers were present and, from the outset, sought to evade the police.

"It became clear to the officers they had accessed the roof. Thereafter, there was a very unruly, ugly scene, which was terrifying for residents," said Mr Venturi.

"They were walking around on the flat roof of the properties, removing effectively everything loose — concrete capping stones among them, which were hurled down at the approaching police officers.

"No one was injured, thankfully, but fragments of concrete did strike one officer.

"Part of the building was under scaffolding at the time, for repair. The upper reaches of that were dismantled and destroyed.

"It appeared there was a stockpiling of projectiles and that the scaffolding was dismantled to ensure officers couldn't access the roof.

"There was a stand-off for about three hours. Police described it as a rooftop siege." 
Cavanagh and Morera-Morgan caused an estimated £10,000 worth of damage to the roof and scaffolding combined.

The operation involved dog handlers and an armed response unit.

For Morera-Morgan, Daniel Sawyer said his client's substance abuse was linked to his offending, which comprised 12 convictions for 19 offences.

Mr Sawyer said the black eye was not a grave injury to Mr Ritchie, but conceded the injury was serious.

Cavanagh appeared with 34 convictions for 67 offences to his name.

For him, Laura Deuxberry, said: "On the rooftop, there was a family matter and his coping mechanism was to binge drink. He panicked when the police arrived. 

"His actions were impulsive and completely reckless — at least to begin with.

"He sobered up as the evening went on, which is why it came to an end. It clearly was ridiculous behaviour, for which he is completely ashamed of."

Morera-Morgan was jailed for 23 months and Cavanagh 18 months.

When sentencing, the judge said: "This was a concerted, deliberate ripping up of the roof, and throwing large, and potentially dangerous, projectiles onto people who you knew perfectly well were executing their duty trying to apprehend you.

"It is hard to conceive of a more serious affray, and had there been civilians involved, the sentence upon you would be even higher.

"It is to the very highest level of seriousness of affrays.

"Regarding the grievous bodily harm, even though you may have been acting in self-defence, you went far, far beyond what was reasonable force to defend yourself."