Father 'fired rifle on street' after group came to confront son with machete and Samurai sword

A man fired a rifle in the street after seeing his son brawl with a neighbour’s friend, a jury heard.

Poultney Street in West Bromwich, where Rhett Lockey allegedly fired three rifle rounds when a gang turned up to confront his son. Photo: Google Street View
Poultney Street in West Bromwich, where Rhett Lockey allegedly fired three rifle rounds when a gang turned up to confront his son. Photo: Google Street View

Rhett Lockey had earlier tried unsuccessfully to break up a fight between his eldest son and 23-year-old Westley Murdoch, Wolverhampton Crown Court was told.

The pair stopped fighting but Murdoch and friend Reece Evans, aged 24, returned to the latter’s home before emerging with a Samurai sword and a machete backed by a group to confront Lockey’s son, prosecutor Mr Stefan Kolodynski said.

Moments later Lockey, aged 45, came out of his home armed with an American Ruger .22 calibre rifle before shooting three rounds in Poultney Street, West Bromwich on June 19, 2015, it was claimed.

Prosecutor Mr Stefan Kolodynski said: “What this trial is not about is what each individual did. There were clearly more than three (people) involved.”

But he said those appearing in court were the ‘three worst offenders in serious, dangerous and unlawful disorder’.

Mr Kolodynski said: “Rhett Lockey made an extremely rash decision. He returned and came out of his house with a firearm. It is a .22 calibre gun, fully functioning and is a deadly weapon.”

The prosecution accepted Lockey, of Poultney Street, had the correct licences to keep the gun and others which were found at his home.

"That does not mean that he is allowed to go out into the street and fire it whatever the circumstances,” Mr Kolodynski said.

He added: “Possession of such a weapon in the street is serious enough but what Rhett Lockey did was worse. He fired three live rounds in the street. It is a matter of sheer luck that no one was seriously injured or killed.”

Lockey told police he had fired the gun – but just one blank round and not three as police experts claimed. Mr Kolodynski said that claim was ‘preposterous’.

Neighbour Keith Jackson said he saw Evans, now of Walnut Lane in Wednesbury, and Murdoch backed by about seven or eight other people as they roamed Poultney Street with their weapons.

He said he later saw Lockey ‘waving the gun about’ before hearing three or four ‘pops’ – which he presumed had been the rifle being fired.

Lockey denies possessing a firearm with intent to cause fear of violence. Murdoch, of St Vincent's Crescent in West Bromwich, and Evans both deny a charge of affray. Murdoch also denies possessing an offensive weapon and Evans denies possessing a bladed article.

Lockey and Murdoch were released on conditional bail. Evans was remanded in custody.

The trial continues.

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