Ex-policeman jailed for 15 months
A FORMER police officer has been jailed for 15 months after threatening his wife with a loaded air pistol when he found out she was having an affair.Stuart Harris fired the gun at a clock in the couple's home and told his wife Lisa that he wanted to kill her, Ipswich Crown Court heard yesterday.
A FORMER police officer has been jailed for 15 months after threatening his wife with a loaded air pistol when he found out she was having an affair.
Stuart Harris fired the gun at a clock in the couple's home and told his wife Lisa that he wanted to kill her, Ipswich Crown Court heard yesterday.
The 38-year-old, who is thought to have formerly served with Suffolk police, admitted a single charge of possessing a firearm with intent to cause fear of violence.
Sentencing Harris to a 15-month prison sentence, Judge Peter Thompson told him: "You threatened your wife in your own home with a pistol, which was loaded. You clearly created immense terror in her mind.
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"You are a trained pistol shooting expert. You're well aware of the importance of safety in handling firearms.
"You are a former police officer. My public duty is to send messages to the public about the way people handle weapons. One might say this is one of the worst cases of domestic violence, where a man takes a pistol to his wife. There really is no excuse for what you did."
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The court heard how Harris, of Chinook, Highwoods, Colchester, had been married to his wife for 11 years and had a son, but the couple had been experiencing problems in the marriage.
Andrew Thompson, prosecuting, said the couple had been leading separate lives, although still living under the same roof.
In the early hours of April 12, the defendant returned from work to the family home in Weyland Road, Witnesham, near Ipswich, to be told by his wife that she was having an affair with another man, Mr Thompson said.
The following day, the couple exchanged a number of text messages about the marriage and at 4pm, Mrs Harris arrived home to find her husband sitting on the sofa with half an empty bottle of whiskey.
Mr Thompson said the defendant became aggressive towards his wife and shouted at her about the relationship.
"At one point the defendant got to his feet and produced from behind himself an air pistol. Lisa Harris recognised it was such and knew he had those in his collection," he said.
"She panicked and left the room in apparently some distress. The defendant then turned to his left and fired into the clock. It was destroyed. It had been a wedding present to the both of them.
"At this stage, Lisa was very frightened. She feared he would shoot at her. At this point there was a struggle between the two of them during the course of that the gun came into close proximity to her.
"She recalls her husband using the words 'I want to kill you'."
Mrs Harris ran from the house and called the police on her mobile phone.
Harris was later arrested by police, who found a number of air pistols at his address, and told officers he had taken the day off work because of the failed relationship.
He could not recall shooting the clock and denied pointing the gun close to her face and neck but admitted walking towards the victim with the gun, which he realised would have caused her fear.
Nicholas Fooks, for Harris, told the court his client had worked all his life, sometimes more than one job at a time, and had spent a number of years in the police force.
It is not known when he stopped working as a policeman and what his current employment is.
"Mr Harris has really had one major relationship in his life and that's his wife. They were together for an extremely long period of time," said Mr Fooks.
"While they had grown apart in some ways and there were many rows, the reason for that was Mr Harris adopted a certain attitude. He did everything in his power to make his wife happy and to create the family atmosphere when his wife went out to all times of the night and until the early hours of the morning.
"When you're a man like of Mr Harris's calibre, when he's done everything he can possibly do, and when he had on occasions raised the issues, she elected not to tell him the truth about what was going on.
"When that builds up over many months, then unfortunately you suddenly discover that everything you had hoped was not true is in fact true, you have put yourself in that mindset, then yes, you start to challenge and question everything.
"This was a man who could not cope, it's as simple as that."