Man points gun at police - but escapes jail sentence

Sgt Chris Clay, area sergeant for Norwich East Police, and PC Sam Smerdon, a beat manager for Norwic

File picture of police officers on patrol in Norfolk. - Credit: Danielle Booden

Two Norfolk police officers had a gun pointed at them after they were called out to reports of a suicidal man, a court has heard.

A male and a female officer were dispatched to an address in Dereham after Graham Barry contacted police to say he was suicidal.

Norwich Crown Court heard officers were dispatched to the scene and had difficulty finding the address but went to a property with the light on.

Isobel Ascherson, prosecuting, said when they got to the door of the property, which turned out to be the defendant's, Barry came to the door and "pointed a black revolver at the two uniformed officers on the doorstep".

She said Barry, 63, was disarmed before being arrested.

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There were no victim impact statements, but Miss Ascherson said one of the officers was "in shock" after seeing the firearm and "thought he was going to shoot at me".

Her colleague described being "fearful" and also thought "he was going to shoot at me and my colleague".

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Barry, of Park Farm Camping, Woodgate Lane, Dereham, appeared for sentence on Tuesday (July 13) having previously admitted affray following the incident on September 17 2019.

Judge Katharine Moore said Barry had behaved in a "quite appalling fashion" calling the police to say that he was suicidal before answering the door to officers with an air pistol.

Judge Moore said the defendant forced the officers to "fear for their personal safety" adding "In fact, they feared the very worst, quite understandably".

She commended the bravery of the officers who were called to Barry who had a long history of alcohol dependency and of depression.

Judge Moore said the offence crossed the custody threshold but insisted it was in the public interest to help ensure Barry got the help to ensure that "you never ever behave in this way again".

He was given 14 months custody, suspended for 21 months, ordered to undertake 35 days rehabilitation activity requirement (RAR) and a 12 month alcohol treatment programme.

Lori Tucker, mitigating, accepted it had been a frightening incident for the officers but insisted it was short-lived.

She said Barry apologised repeatedly to the officers following the incident.

She added he had issues with alcohol and depression but had accepted, perhaps for the first time, he had a problem and that he cannot deal with that on his own.

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