A drunk former Royal Navy sailor threatened police with a crossbow after they arrived at his home to investigate an attack on his girlfriend.

Terrified officers believed Iraq and Afghanistan veteran Simon Sanderson was trying to re-enact what killer Raoul Moat had done in 2010 when he went on a murderous rampage.

Sanderson had attacked his girlfriend at his home in Shortlanesend, near Truro after a drinking session and she had accidentally dropped something in his bathroom.

He punched her and as she fled his home, he called the police. When three officers arrived, he opened a window and aimed a loaded crossbow at them saying "I will pop you in the head."

Truro Crown Court heard there was a stand-off before Sanderson went to an upstairs window to get in a better position and continued to make threats as the cops cowered behind cars - saying families would be mourning the death of a police officer.

But when armed police arrived 20 minutes later Sanderson came out and was arrested, saying: "I just lost the plot."

The loaded crossbow was found on a bed and a second bolt was in the magazine, said prosecutor Jason Beal.

The 43-year-old ex-sailor has a previous conviction for affray after he threatened to kill his wife during an incident and said police would need machine guns "or they were going to get it as well."

In the latest incident in May this year three police officers feared they had been lured there in what they called a 'Raoul Moat type incident' as Sanderson shouted "if I see a head, it is going."

The officers said they had never felt fear like it but the judge commended their "stoic and impeccably calm" actions, which prevented the incident from escalating.

The judge, Recorder Mathew Turner, said Sanderson was convicted by a jury of three charges of making threats to kill against the police. He had admitted causing actual bodily harm to his partner and threatening the officer with a crossbow.

Sanderson served in the Royal Navy for 17 years in various theatres including Iraq and Afghanistan.

The judge said Sanderson did not have PTSD from his time in the Navy but has a mixed personality disorder, although his intention was not to harm others.

He was jailed for a total of three years and six months.

Superintendent Ian Thompson said afterwards: “Officers responding to this incident have put themselves into harm’s way to protect the local community from an extremely aggressive man in possession of a weapon capable of causing fatal injuries.  

“Sadly, the violence experienced by the officers happens all to regularly, but their professionalism, quick thinking and bravery has resulted in a dangerous person being detained and prevented from harming anyone. 

"I welcome the sentence delivered by the courts as it demonstrates that this type of behaviour towards officers or members of the public will not be accepted.”