Haughley man jailed for confronting bailiff with gun
A man from Haughley who confronted a bailiff while holding a gun has been jailed.
Mark Turnbull, 48, had refused to allow Enforcement Officer Steven Williamson, who had a court warrant, inside his home, Ipswich Crown Court heard today.
As a locksmith attempted to drill open the front door lock, Mr Williamson went to the rear of the semi detached property where at open French doors he saw Turnbull standing holding what appeared to be a rifle.
Nothing was said by Turnbull and no threats were made as he stood briefly holding the weapon upright.
Prosecuting, Marc Brown said Mr Williamson retreated and alerted police who sent an armed response unit to the scene.
The incident on June 16 last year came to an end when officers arrested Turnbull, who, Mr Brown said, had co-operated with their instructions.
Turnbull, of Auction Yard, Haughley, had pleaded guilty to a charge of possession of a firearm with intent to cause fear of violence.
Tests conducted by a police firearms expert showed that the weapon was an airgun which had not been loaded at the time.
The gun did not appear to have been used for some time as it was covered in dust, said Mr Brown.
Defending, Lori Tucker said the brief incident, while serious, had been a “moment of madness”
Mrs Tucker told the court: “He accepts that it would have had an effect on the bailiff. He accepts that it was wrong.
“The gun was sitting in a corner of the living room and he foolishly picked it up. It was never pointed at Mr Williamson, it wasn’t loaded and no threats were made.”
Turnbull, who had financial problems and worked at a factory in Stowmarket, had no recent convictions, said Mrs Tucker.
She said of the incident: “It was two seconds of stupidity.”
Sentencing him, Judge David Goodin told Turnbull: “It is, in my judgement, absolutely impossible for a court to countenance a member of the public producing a weapon on a bailiff going about his lawful business. That is intolerable.”
Judge Goodin, who jailed Turnbull for 28 days, said he accepted that there had been no intent to use the gun, that no ammunition for it was in the house and that he was under great pressure, caused in part by health issues.
However, said Judge Goodin, he wanted to send a clear message that no-none who produced a weapon when confronting a bailiff could expect to avoid immediate custody.