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A THIEF who threatened a mother and son with an antique handgun when they caught him breaking into a car has been Sentenced to 12 months in prison.
The thief Identified as Dean Williams pulled the gun on the pair after they challenged him while he was rifling through the centre console of the car.
He managed to scare them off but they called the police who arrived to find him breaking into a van, Teesside Crown Court heard.
Shaun Dodds, prosecuting, said Williams was spotted trying car door handles at around 10.30pm on August 24 this year before he was confronted on Leighton Road, Redcar.
The mother said ‘what the f*** are you doing in the car?’ and the male looked at both of them and pulled out what looked like a shotgun to the witnesses from his waistband and said to them’ do you want a f***ing pellet?’ – whilst holding a gun and pointing it at her.
They both ran back to their home, locked the door, turned the lights off and called 999.
The police arrived in a short period of time, in fact the defendant was still on the street and had moved onto another vehicle and he was getting out of that when he was arrested.
He had a gun in his waistband and a set of keys in his hand he had stolen from the van. The gun was an antique pistol incapable of firing ammunition.
The court heard he had a number previous convictions, including stealing from vehicles and burglary.
Williams, of Shelley Crescent, Middlesbrough, pleaded guilty to theft, attempted theft and two charges of making threats with an offensive weapon – the imitation firearm.
Rod Hunt, in mitigation, said his client had ‘complex mental health issues’ which he is able to cope with when he is taking his medication but at the time of the offence he had stopped taking them.
He said Williams understood a custodial sentence was inevitable but was taking steps to improve his mental health issues.
Judge Howard Crowson said he was not surprised the two people were scared off by the weapon as they didn’t know it was incapable of being fired.
When you were challenged, you pointed this antique pistol at them, they both of course retreated, they feared it was a genuine gun that could hurt them.
They weren’t to know, as we now know, that it was antique pistol and couldn’t be fired at all.
They did the right thing and called the police, it was ultimately in your waistband when they arrived.
I have seen a photograph of it and can understand why they thought it was a shortened shotgun.
Obviously, you intended them to fear it could harm them otherwise you wouldn’t have pointed it at them.”Judge Howard Crowson said