Death threat thug had ‘gun’

Runcorn & Widnes Weekly News - - Front Page - BY OLIVER CLAY oliver.clay@trin­i­tymir­ @oliv­er­clayRWWN

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

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