Tenant waved sawn-off shotgun at neighbour and threatened: ‘I will kill you’

Police at the scene
Police at the scene

A tenant in a block of flats who brandished a double barrelled sawn-off shotgun at his next-door neighbour has been jailed.

James Richardson, 45, grabbed the deactivated weapon after one of his neighbours partied until 3am and made more noise the next morning, a court heard.

Police incident Titan House York Road Park Road junction. Picture by FRANK REID

Police incident Titan House York Road Park Road junction. Picture by FRANK REID

The incident sparked an armed response from Cleveland Police who sealed off the area for several hours.

Teesside Crown Court heard he snapped and attacked Jordan Lee Atkinson, who had had friends staying over, before waving the gun around and shouting “I will kill you.”

Richardson left Titan House in York Road, Hartlepool, shortly after the drama on May 4 last year and stashed the gun in Summerhill Country Park.

It was found by a member of the public three weeks later.

Richardson was jailed for 18 months.

Shaun Dryden, prosecuting, said Richardson shouted at Mr Atkinson, who had moved in just two days earlier, to keep the noise down just after 9am on May 4 last year.

CCTV of Richardson attacking Mr Atkinson in the corridor was played in court and showed him headbutting the victim and raining punches down on him before going back into his flat.

Richardson emerged holding the gun a short time later.

Mr Dryden said: “He repeatedly shouted ‘I will kill you’ while waving this item around.”

At 9.07am, Richardson was caught on camera leaving the flats with something concealed in his jacket.

Armed police descended on the flats, run by the Thirteen group, and sealed off the area for several hours.

Richardson, of Haven Walk, Hartlepool, handed himself in four days later.

He denied having a gun, saying it was a piece of wood.

He only pleaded guilty just before he was due to stand trial earlier this month after his DNA was found on the gun’s handle.

Richardson, a father and grandfather, admitted possessing an imitation firearm with intent to cause fear of violence, and common assault.

Mark Styles, mitigating, said Richardson had become increasingly frustrated at falling standards in the flats over the previous two years and complained nobody did anything about it.

On the morning of the incident he was due to attend a family funeral in Hull.

Mr Styles said: “This is a man who had clearly reached the end of his tether. He barely got any sleep.

“The following morning there was more banging and shouting. He recognises he made a very foolish mistake.”

Judge Sean Morris said he understood Richardson’s frustrations but added: “What you have in your room is a murderous looking weapon.

“It’s an armed blagger’s tool. It’s the weapon of choice for those who wish to instil in people the maximum fear.

“I’m afraid anybody who possesses that kind of shocking weapon cannot expect to walk out of court.

“Just imagine if that gun was out there now and falling into the wrong hands. It would be used in crime; pointed to the face of a shop owner.

“It beggars belief.”