Death threat thug had ‘gun’
ALOUT who brandished a BB gun in a man’s face and threatened to kill him in a terrifying incident in Runcorn has been spared prison.
Kieran Gallagher, 21, of Bold Street, Runcorn learned his fate at Chester Crown Court on Thursday, more than two years since terrorising Carl McGrath on Boston Avenue at about 7pm on August 1, 2015.
Matthew Dunford, prosecuting, said Gallagher had been a rear passenger in a silver Suzuki carrying three ‘lads’, who threw a metal object through the window at pedestrian Mr McGrath.
Mr McGrath, now deceased for reasons the court heard were unrelated to the case, screamed at the car, which continued on.
He saw it again soon after, and those on board were shouting abuse at him.
The victim, in a move described as ‘unwise’ by presiding judge His Honour Roger Dutton, grabbed a glass jar of curry sauce and hurled it at the car, prompting the Suzuki to stop.
Three men emerged and shouted at him, and he responded in kind.
Mr Dunford said Gallagher said ‘I’m going to smash your face in, I’m going to kill you’, then pulled what Mr McGrath thought was a ‘revolver’ from the vehicle.
Gallagher pointed the barrel at Mr McGrath’s face from about six feet away while shouting and screaming, before the three yobs boarded the car and drove away.
Police were called and responded ‘very quickly’.
They found the car and when it stopped, Sergeant Adam Bolger shouted at them to put their hands up and arrested the three of them.
A black and gold BB gun and cylinder of 6mm ball bearings was in the back of the car where Gallagher had been sitting.
In police interview, he accepted what had happened but said the weapon was not his and he had put it back as soon as a woman had started shouting ‘he’s got a gun’.
The court heard Gallagher had past convictions for possession of an offensive weapon, public order and breaching a court order resulting from court appearances between July 2012 and January 2016.
He had also spent six months in a young offenders institution, which he told the court was ‘horrible’
Gallagher, who was 18 at the time of the offence and who wept throughout much of Thursday’s hearing, pleaded guilty to possession of an imitation firearm in a public place and affray in February this year before his trial was due to start.
Des Lennon, defending, said his client had kept out trouble since the incident more than two years ago, no longer mixed much in the same company and was trying to work when he could.
He said Gallagher had gone off the rails following the tragic death of his father, over which the teenage Gallagher had punished himself with feelings of guilt.
Mr Lennon said that his client made no excuses though and accepted responsibility for what happened.
He argued that given the time elapsed since the offence and the probation service’s recommendations, any custodial sentence could be suspended.
Judge Dutton agreed but gave Gallagher a dressing down before releasing him from the dock.
He sentenced him to 15 months in prison, suspended for two years, plus 250 hours unpaid work and a 7pm-6am curfew to run for 56 days.
In his case summary, he said: “What you engaged in with others in that car was extraordinarily foolish and the reality is you were briefly engaged with this gentleman while he was walking.
“He was unwise enough to respond and unfortunately that caused the driver, no doubt supported by you and others, to return and hurl further abuse at him.
“When the car stopped, having found him, you and others got out, but you stupidly took a ball bearing pistol with you and pointed it at him, frankly frightening him very considerably indeed. ●
“The reality is it was an imitation weapon and that’s limited the offence that you have committed, but in my view to point what looks to the untrained eye like a pistol at another person at a relatively close range is a wicked thing to do and OR CALL would put enormous fear in the minds of the victim which is what precisely I’m sure happened in this case.”
Kieran Gallagher, 21, of Bold Street, Runcorn, used a BB gun to threaten a man on Boston Avenue