A Hendon based grandad who was jailed after he defended his home against yobs throwing stones at it has been released after serving seven months in prison
David Chapman called police at 9.39pm on April 20 reporting there were youths outside his home in Hudson Road, Sunderland, throwing things at his windows and arguing. Officers turned up a few minutes later and Chapman was outside with some other people.
Then at 10.29pm police got a further call from someone, reporting that Chapman had been outside his home with a black handgun or pellet gun and officers returned to the scene around 12.15am. His home was searched and they found a cigarette lighter shaped like a Beretta handgun and a carbon dioxide powered air pistol.
Daniel Penman, prosecuting, told Newcastle Crown Court : “CCTV showed he had been standing outside his home with others. There was a second group, of teens or young people, up the road, picking stones up and throwing them towards the defendants’ group.
“There was a verbal interaction, a hostile interaction, which continued for several minutes. The defendant was standing in or near his doorway. He advanced in the road and had an exchange with the group.
“He went back in his doorway and inside the address. The defendant reappeared in the doorway with a wooden stick in his hand, a table leg. He stood holding it and made a swinging motion with the table leg but nowhere near them.”
There was some shouting both ways then Chapman went back inside and the group of young people left the scene. Mr Penman said: “When the defendant reappeared he was holding the imitation firearm, which is, in fact, a cigarette lighter in the shape of a Beretta pistol.
“He accepts his intention was to frighten the young people but by the time he came out they were nowhere to be seen. The defendant held the item down by his side.
“The Crown accept he was not trying to frighten anyone at that time. He did make a pointing gesture at some point.”
After his arrest, Chapman told police 10 to 15 youths had approached his home and started throwing stones. Mr Penman said: “He said the item was a cigarette lighter and he just wanted to get the males away from his property.”
Chapman, 52, who has eleven previous convictions, including for drugs supply and assault, was on a suspended sentence for assault occasioning actual bodily harm at the time. He pleaded guilty to possessing an imitation firearm with intent to cause fear of violence and possessing a firearm – the air pistol – when prohibited due to his last conviction.
He had served more than seven months in prison on remand and was sentenced to a two-year community order with rehabilitation. The previous suspended sentence continues to be in place.
Jamie Adams, defending, said: “It was an unruly group of youths and they were angling to throw nore than the stones they did throw, which hit Mr Chapman on his forehead. He had an injury to his head, where it had bled.
“One wonders whether this serious charge ought to have been brought. The cigarette lighter is a cigarette lighter. It was not illegal for him to possess it but it was to brandish it.
“He was not looking for trouble, it came to him. He was the only one hurt in the incident.
“The pellet gun is freely available in shops and no licence is needed. It was not something he would ever have thought about using in a malicious way.
“He felt under threat by a group of people behaving in an appalling way outside his house. He is an articulate and intelligent man.”