Bury St Edmunds: Man jailed for air gun offence

A DISABLED man thought he was going to die when he opened the front door of his Suffolk home and a man fired what appeared to be a real gun at him four times, a court has heard.

Carlos Da Silva, who lived in a block of four flats in Mayfield Road, Bury St Edmunds, had complained about loud music coming from a neighbouring flat and contacted the housing association he rented his flat from about the problem, Ipswich Crown Court heard.

At around 1pm on May 2 Mr Da Silva answered a knock at his door and was confronted by two men, one of whom was holding a handgun.

Robert Sadd, prosecuting, said the weapon was fired four times in the direction of Mr Da Silva. “He thought it was a real gun,” said Mr Sadd. He said the gun, which turned out to be an air pistol, was entirely realistic.

Following the incident armed police were alerted and Mayfield Road was closed for several hours. Some residents had problems accessing their homes and the closure also caused disruption at Hardwick Middle School.

Before the court was Matthew Norwood, 22, of Tutelina Road, Great Whelnetham, who admitted possession of a firearm with intent to cause fear of violence, possessing a firearm when prohibited and possession of a knife in a public place.

Jailing him for four years, Judge David Goodin said: “You went to the flat of Mr Da Silva and when he opened the door he must have thought his last moment had come.”

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He said the weapon was realistic and Mr Da Silva had later told police he thought he was going to die.

Mr Sadd told the court that Mr Da Silva was disabled and had come to the UK from Portugal 12 years ago.

He said the complaints made by Mr Da Silva about noise from a neighbouring flat was the motive for what happened on May 2.

Mr Sadd said that when Norwood was arrested a knife was found in his jacket which he said he had been carrying for self protection after someone had tried to stab him.

Andrew Shaw, for Norwood, said his client knew he was going to receive a long custodial sentence.

He said Norwood was a long term drug user and had been taking medication to prevent him using heroin as well tranquillisers.

Mr Shaw said the weapon he fired at Mr Da Silva was not loaded and his intention had been to frighten him.

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