UK
07/05/2014 16:05 BST | Updated 07/05/2014 16:59 BST

Gangster Domenyk Noonan Arrested After Six-Hour Stand-Off On Big Wheel

The man once dubbed the UK's "most violent gangster" has been arrested after a six-hour stint on top of Manchester's Big Wheel, in protest at police attempts to recall him to prison.

Domenyk Noonan was eventually hauled down from his 100ft perch in a £30,000 police operation, with crowds of more than 1,000 at the base of the wheel in Piccadilly Gardens, trams and buses diverted and the centre of Manchester at a stand-still.

Noonan, 49, spoke to HuffPost on Tuesday night while a-top the Big Wheel, and said he had been recalled to prison for changing his address.

He had been freed after serving a nine-and-a-half year sentence for keeping a gun under the bonnet of his car, but his licence was due to expire on Friday.

noonan

Domenyk Noonan was eventually hauled down from his 100ft perch in a £30,000 police operation

Noonan claimed he had rowed with the friend he was living with and wanted to move out of his home, but his request had been refused by the probation service.

Rather than return to his house, or be arrested, Noonan said he had decided to go down in flames, pulling the biggest stunt he could think of.

"If they're going to send me back to prison, I'll give them something to do it for," he told HuffPost. "I wanted to do something big and Piccadilly Gardens is as big as it gets in Manchester."

Several families and groups were trapped in the pods as the police attempted to coax Noonan down, but authorities decided eventually to slowly turn the wheel to let the passengers out.

A senior officer told the Manchester Evening News that police felt "their safety was more paramount than his [Noonan's]."

Noonan told HuffPost he had intended to stay there for the long haul, but had left his bag of food several feet down the Big Wheel's spokes, and could not retrieve it. Two heavy downpours also put paid to Noonan's intention of staying overnight.

Around 9.45pm, wearing a hard hat given to him by rescue workers, Noonan clambered down to cheers from supporters.

noonan

Police at the base of the wheel, as the stunt caused trams and buses to be diverted and brought the centre of Manchester to a stand-still

Police have arrested Noonan on suspicion of aggravated trespass. Chief Superintendent Nick Adderley, of Greater Manchester Police, told the Manchester Evening News: "I think what happened was outrageous.

'Police will always facilitate lawful protest but there was nothing lawful about this when you risk the lives of the people who were in the pods, including the young and elderly, and a boy of three who was extremely distressed.

"He risked the lives of the people who went to rescue him. If you want to make a protest, that's not the way to do it."

A GMP spokesman said: “The 49-year-old man came down shortly before 10pm and was arrested for aggravated trespass.

“The public is thanked for their patience while the incident was brought to a safe conclusion.”

Noonan, a notorious Manchester criminal, reportedly sung lullabies to police killer Dale Creegan, but insisted at a lecture last week at Birmingham City University that he was a reformed gangster.