Schizophrenic sectioned after crashing into cars and firing imitation uzi

Ipswich Crown Court. Picture: SIMON PARKER

Ipswich Crown Court. Picture: SIMON PARKER - Credit: Archant

A paranoid schizophrenic has been sectioned following a drug-induced episode involving an imitation machine gun last year.

Henry Gaskin crashed into cars and fired a gas-powered gun from the window of a van on March 10.

A resident of the Foxhall House ward of St Clement’s Hospital, Gaskin admitted several offences before sentence at Ipswich Crown Court on Tuesday, including damaging to a car, possessing a lock knife, possessing an imitation firearm with intent to cause fear of violence and dangerous driving while disqualified and uninsured.

Prosecutor Michael Crimp said police were called to reports of damage to a VW Golf belonging to an acquaintance of Gaskin, who became aggressive at their home in Hepworth that morning.

He was later involved in an argument in a Stowmarket car park, where he then reversed his Ford Transit van into a car.

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Gaskin, 36, then drove to Birds Leisure, in Great Blakenham, and bought vermin poison, a diving knife and an airgun resembling an Uzi, which he was later seen with in Stowmarket, where he almost crashed his van into an oncoming car near Tesco in Gun Cotton Way.

A couple in the car heard a loud bang and later discovered a small hole in the windscreen.

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When both vehicles stopped, the car driver went to remonstrate with Gaskin, who waved the gun in the couple’s direction.

The man returned to his car and drove off, hearing two loud pops.

Gaskin then reversed into another car at a roundabout, crashed into a parked car in Old Newton and dumped the damaged van near the railway station, where it was found containing the gun and pellet ammunition.

He was eventually located, in possession of the knife, crouching beside bins in the town.

In 2013, Gaskin was convicted of firing an imitation firearm at a bin man and driving into a cyclist – for which he was sectioned but not made subject of a section 41 restriction – requiring secretary of state approval to be discharged.

Evelyn Hicks, appearing for Gaskin, said he recalled little of the “drug-induced” events but understood his guilt.

Hospital care, she said, rather than prison, would allow proper treatment of his mental health.

Her submission was supported by a hospital consultant.

Judge John Devaux sectioned Gaskin under section 37 of the mental health act, with a section 41 restriction, and banned him from driving for eight years.

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