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Grantham man given suspended jail sentence after waving gun at neighbours

Lincoln Crown Court
Lincoln Crown Court

A drunken man produced a pistol after complaining about the noise from a car engine outside his Grantham home, Lincoln Crown Court was told today.

The court was told that Tracy McDonald, of Thames Road, Grantham, came out and remonstrated with his neighbour, saying: “Tell your mate to turn that engine off”.

The car then drove away but moments later McDonald emerged from his property brandishing the weapon.

Siward James-Moore, prosecuting, said that the incident happened in the early evening when a group of friends and relatives were gathered outside a house opposite McDonald’s.

The group were about to go out for a meal but then McDonald came out and complained about the noise from a car which was stationery in the street with its engine running.

Mr James-Moore said: “The defendant came over. It was immediately apparent he was very drunk. He was swerving around and his speech was slurred.”

Mr James-Moore said a woman in the group told McDonald to go back inside. Her son decided to move his car as a precaution. McDonald reappeared over his garden fence holding a gun. The prosecutor added: “He waved the gun for a few seconds and then disappeared back into his house.”

The court was told that the female witness was “very shocked”, but she said that normally they all got on very well. In a statement she said she did not want McDonald to get into trouble for what happened.

The gun was later found to be an air pistol which was lawfully held by McDonald. It was not loaded at the time.

McDonald, 52, of Thames Road, Grantham, admitted a charge of possession of a firearm with intent to cause fear of violence as a result of the incident on August 27 this year. He was given a 12-month jail sentence suspended for two years with a two month electronically monitored night-time curfew and a rehabilitation activity requirement of up to 10 days.

Judge Simon Hirst, passing sentence, told him: “(The witness) made it clear that in her view you acted wholly out of character and you have apologised to her.

“She told you effectively that you just can’t behave like this. She is entirely right. It is unacceptable.

“It was an air pistol which was legitimately held. It wasn’t pointed at anyone. Your intention was clearly to frighten in some way. It was not loaded or discharged.

“I accept you had depression through your inability to work as a result of injury. You were heavily in drink and unable to sleep.

“This sort of behaviour crosses the custody threshold but I can suspend the inevitable sentence.”

Mark Watson, in mitigation, said that McDonald had taken strong painkillers and had been drinking. He reacted when the noise from the car engine prevented him getting to sleep.

“His remorse has been utterly genuine. This is a decent man. There was a combination of pain that he couldn’t get away from and alcohol unwisely mixed with very strong painkillers. Then there was the trigger event from the noise of the engine. For a few moments he lost himself. He recognises how serious this is.”

In a letter written to the judge, McDonald said: “I am totally ashamed of myself. I am truly sorry.”


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