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Blast fears delayed gun siege probe

An investigation into how a 42-year-old man was shot dead by police following a seven-hour-long siege at his home was delayed due to fears the house was rigged with explosives, it has emerged.

Alistair Bell was shot dead on Tuesday morning after a night-long stand-off with armed officers at his home in Kirkheaton, near Huddersfield, West Yorkshire.

Bell fired a number of shots during the siege and the Independent Police Complaints Commission (IPCC), which is investigating the incident, said a 9mm self-loading pistol has been recovered from the house.

The incident began on Monday evening when unarmed officers arrived to arrest divorcee Bell over allegations he had threatened a couple in the village.

Bell shot and injured one 29-year-old officer who had come to detain him.

On Wednesday, the IPCC said in a statement: "IPCC investigators were unable to enter the house to begin their examination on Tuesday due to fears that it may contain an improvised explosive device.

"The property has been declared safe now following a search by specialist teams and a forensic examination is being undertaken."

Meanwhile, West Yorkshire Police Chief Constable Sir Norman Bettison confirmed the officer who was shot by Bell was spared serious injuries due to his body armour.

He went on: "The round lodged in the body armour and did not penetrate the final layer, so the officer has severe bruising to the kidney area of his torso and abrasions which were caused by the ricochet of the armour. If he hadn't been wearing body armour, it would have undoubtedly caused serious injury in an area where there are a great number of vital organs."

Sir Normal also said Bell had a "history of violence".