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Gang jailed for eight years for armed stand-off
Updated 7:51pm Saturday 12th July 2014 in News
A GANG armed themselves with a gun, a samurai sword and a sledgehammer before setting off on a revenge mission - provoking a major armed police response.
Alarmed villagers looked on as Andrew Wright and his five-strong posse arrived at the house in broad daylight - having earlier texted his victim: "You're going to get it - 15 minutes" , a court heard.
Mr New - who had earlier beaten Wright in a fight - was so terrified he even donned a crash helmet and armed himself with a baseball bat.
True to his word, Wright arrived, armed with a deactivated Smith and Wesson revolver, lining up with his gang along the garden fence.
Spotting Mr New at a kitchen window, he aimed the handgun at him, spun the chamber and pretended to shoot, threatening he would kill him.
Paul Newcombe, prosecuting, told Durham Crown Court, that Mr New was so frightened he considered jumping from an upstairs window to try and escape but instead tried reasoning with Wright - who responded by threatening to shoot out his windows and kill his cat.
The gang then crossed the fence into the garden of Mr New's home in Dunelm Walk, Consett, County Durham, prompting him to call police. This triggered a major firearms team response and caused the group to run off.
Police later found the gun at Wright’s home, at Templar Mews, Medomsley, along with a baton, a baseball bat, a hammer, a wrench and two samurai swords. The 21-year-old was arrested but said nothing in police interview.
Later, he admitted possessing an imitation firearm with intent to cause fear of violence on the morning of Thursday, January 23.
Accomplices Sam Fitzpatrick, of Tyne Avenue, and Jason Blackwood, of Daisy Hill, both 23 from Consett, admitted affray.
Mr Newcombe said Wright, Mr New and others had been drinking together in the Golden Lion, Leadgate, the night before and had visited a friend’s grave together.
But the pair got into a fight – Wright blaming Mr New for his girlfriend having left him over alleged cheating.
Judge Christopher Prince said the incident was particularly unpleasant and took place in full view of parents, children and anyone else who happened to be passing at about 10.15am.
“I see an armed gang threatening one of their neighbours,” he said.
Wright was jailed for five years, Fitzpatrick to 20 months and Blackwood to 16 months.
Jamie Adams, for Wright, said his client had an unattractive background but no “really serious” criminal offences on his record and claimed the incident was out of character and “a step too far”.
Brian Mark, for Fitzpatrick, said his client was unaware Wright had a gun, thinking the episode was just “noise and bluster” and would not associate with the gang in future.
Nick Lane, for Blackwood, said his client deeply regretted his actions and recognised their impact on the wider community.
All three were made subject to an indefinite restraining order to protect Mr New and the weapons will be confiscated and destroyed.