They came to knock down his house because he built without permission. What happened then was exactly what I would expect if the same sort of bureaucrat came to knock down a citizen's house here.
I remember reading about this back when it happened. I can't believe that they all just stood around after he pulled a gun and threatened them after they threatened him. You can see the reporters practically snuggle up to him after he pulls out the gun.
Derwentside District Council - abolished in County Durham's local government shake-up two years ago - refused to approve the development in a rural area made up of conventional farms. The council, which was keen to create an environment conducive to tourism, was also worried the bungalow represented a precedent that would unlock the door to other housing on land where it would not normally be permitted.
Dryden lost his planning appeal to keep the bungalow, although the Government inspector who chaired the hearing said some of the other buildings could stay because of the time they had been there.
The wrangle dragged on for several months with the council attempting to reach a compromise that would avoid the need to bulldoze the bungalow. The last suggestion was that Dryden modify the building and use it for keeping livestock, but he rejected this.
Finally, councillors decided there was no option but demolition, and the date was set for Thursday June 20 1991. On the day media gathered with Dryden on the land with his friends and supporters.
Dryden had a letter from the Planning Inspectorate, which he had fixed to his gate, indicating no action could be taken until an appeal had been heard. The letter had given Dryden the belief the council was breaking the law, even though there were no grounds for an appeal.
Harry Collinson came to the gate, looked at the letter and told him it contained nothing to prevent the demolition. Dryden replied that 'you might not be around to see the outcome of this disaster'.
Mr Collinson told Dryden he could have time to move things out of the building and he moved to a point in the fence where the bulldozer was to come through.
Dryden went to his caravan and picked up a First World War revolver, strode back to the fence and drew the weapon on Mr Collinson, whose last words were to the TV crew: 'Can you get a shot of this gun?'
Dryden then fired at the fleeing crowd, hoping to get the council's solicitor, Mike Dunstan, but instead hitting TV reporter Tony Belmont in the arm and PC Stephen Campbell in the backside.
Dryden had denied murder but was convicted after a trial and jailed for life at Newcastle Crown Court in 1992. He was denied parole in 2001 after it was felt he showed little evidence of remorse.There is nothing worse than petty tyrants. I became familiar with them in school and later, after I bought my first house in a neighborhood with an HOA that could have given the NKVD tips on how to make friends and influence people. They all have this fatal character flaw. They don't ever think that somebody will resist their petty demands and take it to the limit if they think they have to. As I looked at Dryden pull the gun, I knew that he had reached his limit and was going to open fire.