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Friday, 18 April 2014

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Man took gun to grudge fight in Carlisle park

Armed police were called to a Carlisle park after a man was seen with a firearm.

Joshua William Ray, 18, took a gun to Hammonds Pond in Upperby to attend a pre-arranged fight between a 20-year-old man and a youth.

And when he took the pistol out of his pocket and waved it in the air, “frightened” members of the public ran away.

North Cumbria Magistrates’ Court heard Ray, of Wampool Street, Silloth, had bought the pistol from a gunsmith to use for target practice.

He was staying on Mount Pleasant Road in Currock, at the time of the incident on April 4.

Prosecutor Diane Jackson said: “Police were notified of a firearms incident in the park in Upperby on April 4. Armed officers had to attend. It became clear that a pre-arranged fight had being arranged between a 20-year-old male and a youth in the park.”

After buying the gun, Ray and his friend went to the park to watch the pre-arranged fight, the court was told.

Mrs Jackson said: “When they got there, there was a group of around 20 youths mingling around and then the fight started between two lads. At one point during the fight Ray tried to intervene as the two fighting were getting close to a stream and he was trying to stop them falling in - then it all went wrong.

“Some of the youths thought Ray was getting involved in the fight and he was threatened by others, he just panicked took the pistol from his pocket and started to wave the pistol around as members of the public started to run away from the scene frightened.”

Police traced Ray, who pleaded guilty to possessing an air rifle in a public place and a public order offence, to the Currock address.

Mrs Jackson said: “They asked him where the pistol was and he showed them. It was in the garden. The gun was not loaded when he had it in the park but the public did not know that and that’s why the police firearms unit was called.”

Geoff Clapp, defending Ray, said: “My client had shot some pellets in his friend’s garden before they went to Hammonds Pond but the gun was not loaded while he was in the park.

“He admits it was a silly thing to do and admits the incident must have caused people to feel threatened.

“He took the gun out of his pocket when he felt threatened at the fight.”

Ray was given a community order for one year with supervision. He must also attend the alcohol awareness initiative and a thinking skills programme,

Presiding magistrate David Taylor said: “This offence was aggravated because it took place in a public park. You were waving the weapon around and the public were put in fear. They didn’t know what type of weapon it was.”

Ray must pay costs of £85 and a victim surcharge of £60. The forfeiture of the weapon was also ordered.

Also in court, Daniel Kevin Barker, 20, of Moor Road, Longtown, pleaded guilty to a public order offence of using threatening words or behaviour to cause harassment alarm, or distress.

Magistrates were told Barker was involved in the pre-arranged fight with a youth who cannot be named for legal reasons. The court was told the fight was over a “grudge” about a girl.

Barker told the court he thought the fight was going to be somewhere quiet but when he arrived at the park a group of about 20 other youths were there.

He apologised and admitted that the public must have been frightened. He was fined £40 with £85 costs and a £20 victim surcharge.

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