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Jailed: Wolverhampton man had sawn-off shotguns hidden under the stairs

By Richard Guttridge | Wolverhampton | Crime | Published:

A Wolverhampton man who kept two sawn-off shotguns stashed under his stairs has been jailed for more than five years.

Police found the deadly weapons wrapped in a sweatshirt in a cupboard along with cartridges when they searched the home of James Harker in Parkfield Road.

Judge Dean Kershaw said he believed the 32-year-old intended to use the guns to ‘maim or kill’ someone.

Officers were called to the house on February 8 and arrested Harker after the discovery of the weapons. A handgun was also found, but tests revealed it could not be fired.

However, the two shotguns were in working order and capable of killing, Judge Kershaw said at Wolverhampton Crown Court.

Harker was sentenced to five years and four months in prison after pleading guilty to possessing the guns. He told police the weapons were his but that he had not threatened to kill anyone.

Police records showed the guns had not been used in any known crime.

But when delivering his sentence, the judge questioned why he would have the weapons, coupled with ammunition, if he had no intention of using them.

He said: “Together with these items, alarmingly, was ammunition. They were fit and ready to fire. These are actual guns and working guns, items that when in use will kill. If they are fired at someone it will end their life.

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“Possession of weapons like this has one purpose and that is to maim or kill people.”

Ms Sati Ruck, prosecuting, said: “Police attended the house to search for the defendant following a report from his ex-partner.

“They searched under the stairs and in a cupboard found two sawn-off shotguns wrapped in clingfilm and a hooded top and a bag containing a handgun and a box containing shotgun cartridges.”

The shotguns, one a Beretta and the other a Westley Richards, were seized by police and examined by firearms experts.

Mr David Isles, defending, said: “He co-operated with the police in terms of confessing at the station. They weren’t loaded. There was no evidence they were used in the commission of serious crime. He is sincere in his apologies.”

Richard Guttridge

By Richard Guttridge
Chief Reporter - @RichG_star

Chief Reporter for the Express & Star, based in Wolverhampton.

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