Teacher pointed air gun at Pc

A TALENTED teacher with a "terrible" addiction to alcohol has been jailed for 12 months after he pointed a loaded air revolver at a policewoman during a drunken rage.

A TALENTED teacher with a "terrible" addiction to alcohol has been jailed for 12 months after he pointed a loaded air revolver at a policewoman during a drunken rage.

Matthew Falk, 33, a former chemistry teacher at the Tendring Technology College in Frinton-On-Sea, pointed the loaded Magnum air cartridge revolver at Pc Katy Johnson and shouted "I am going to kill them".

Falk, of Empire Court, Clacton, appeared at Chelmsford Crown Court yesterday, where he pleaded guilty to charges of possessing a firearm with intent to cause fear of unlawful violence and possessing a firearm without a current certificate.

The court heard how the incident was the culmination of his long-term personal problems and addiction to alcohol that has seen him fall "completely off the rails".

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Despite being a teacher of great potential who was on the verge of completing a Doctorate qualification, his problems had seen his life tragically "spiral out of control", the court was told.

Prosecutor Sarah Porter told the court how on July 28, 2004, Falk had called the police to say a group of youths were causing a nuisance outside his home.

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At around 9.10pm two police officers, including Pc Johnson, approached a communal set of doors at Empire Court when Falk came out at pointed the weapon at the policewoman.

Ms Porter added: "The defendant pointed the revolver directly at the officer before waving it in the air shouting 'I am going to kill them' and then he put the weapon on the floor.

"He later told police officers he had drunk a bottle of Scotch, the revolver was loaded with three air cartridges."

The court was told that Falk had originally bought the weapon from a dealer in Norfolk when he lived in the countryside and that he had previously used it for target practice in fields. At the time he purchased it no certificate was needed, but following recent change of law the weapon now fell under the category of air guns that need to be licensed.

Mitigating, Matthew Gowen , said Falk had called police in a drunken haze after he had been "picked on" by the youths outside his home and that he never intended to use the weapon.

"He called the police in a drunken haze and he does not really understand why he took the firearm outside, he is remorseful for it and knows it was absolutely stupid," said Mr Gowen. "He put the weapon down after a few seconds and the threats he made were directed at the youths. He never intended to use the weapon and certainly not on the police officers."

Mr Gowen also described the Falk's fall from grace as nothing short of tragic.

"This incident is the culmination of the depths to which he has sunk. He has been teaching for quite some time and is clearly a man of great potential and he was on the verge of completing a PHD when this happened.

"He has never really come to terms of the death of his mother when he was a teenager and he has been drinking far too much for far too long and he is now seeking professional help. It is a tragedy that a man of his capability has got into this sort of state," he added.

Before sentencing the teacher to 12 months in custody, Judge Jeremy Richards said: "I regret the fact a police officer coming to your assistance had to face the ordeal of having a gun pointed at her. This is a genuine weapon and it must have been terrifying. It is a great shame as you are clearly a man of great potential and academic ability, but you have a terrible addiction to alcohol and it is that addiction that is likely to be your downfall forever unless you conquer it."

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