Hett gun holder accused of succumbing to 'red mist'

The Northern Echo: Hett gun holder accused of succumbing to 'red mist' Hett gun holder accused of succumbing to 'red mist'

A USUALLY decent, upstanding citizen stripped of his guns in the wake of the Horden shootings will have to wait until the New Year to hear whether he can reclaim his weapons.

Durham Police seized hobby shooter Raymond Wilkinson’s guns and revoked his gun licences after an altercation with Steve Pinkney in the run-up to last Christmas, a court heard.

Chief Inspector Steve Ball, who spearheaded the force’s firearms crackdown launched after taxi driver Michael Atherton killed three women and himself on New Year’s Day 2012, said Mr Wilkinson was not among 1,000 gunholders found to be of “concern” but new tougher controls meant they were alerted when Mr Pinkey made a complaint against him, in February, leading to the guns being seized in March.

Mr Wilkinson today (Tuesday, December 17) appealed to Durham Crown Court but the case was not completed, meaning the 58-year-old will have to return in January.

Mr Wilkinson was accused of headbutting Mr Pinkney on December 22.

He is also said to have assaulted his future son-in-law Stuart Prow on December 30, 2001, and the next day attacked Michael Bradbury, then landlord of the Hett Arms pub at New Year’s Eve party in the usually quiet hamlet of Hett, between Spennymoor and Durham.

Richard Bennett, acting for Durham’s Chief Constable, accused Mr Wilkinson, who he conceded was usually a decent, upstanding member of the community, of occasionally succumbing to the “red mist” and descending into violence.

Mr Wilkinson, of East Street, Hett, denied this, saying he had walked away from the altercation with Mr Pinkney, despite being goaded.

He said he had thought Mr Prow was not the right man for his daughter but he had been wrong and he regretted punching him.

He denied assaulting Mr Bradbury, a claim supported by Donald Waller, chairman of Hett Village Hall, who said there had been an argument only.

None of the incidents led to criminal charges.

Mr Wilkinson had his gun licence revoked in 1980, but won it back on appeal. He said he regretted his past but could not change it.

The case was adjourned to Durham Crown Court on January 9.

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