Man driven to edge by heartbreak avoids jail after brandishing 'imitation revolver' outside shops
A "decent and honest" man whose life quickly spiralled out of control leading him to threatening people with an imitation firearm has avoided jail.
Derek Dicks lost his mother, father and his marriage within months before being allegedly swindled by a lover which sent him over the edge in on May 4 this year.
Seeing friends of the woman, who he claimed had been harassing him after reporting her to the police, outside a shop on Beaconview Road, West Bromwich, Dicks returned home to pick up an imitation gun.
He then returned and pointed what looked like a revolver at the men, even taking time to fill its chamber with bullets, forcing the men to flea in fear.
The entire episode was captured on CCTV and it did not take police officers long to track Dicks down from his car's number plate which could be seen clearly on camera.
Despite two searches of his Kelverley Close home, officers could not find the gun, which he assured detectives was an imitation firearm which took dummy bullets.
Due to the firearm never being recovered the Crown could only charge Dicks with possessing an imitation firearm with intent to cause fear and violence.
Dicks, 53, pleaded guilty at Wolverhampton Crown Court and was sentenced to eight months, suspended, by Judge Jonathan Gosling.
The prosecutor said: "The CCTV footage clearly shows Mr Dicks pointing what looks like a revolver at the men. He can be seen dropping what looked like bullets on the floor and taking time to pick them up and put them in the chamber.
"Though Mr Dicks twice told police officers the imitation firearm was in his home, two searches failed to find it."
He added: "His only previous dealings with the police was receiving a caution for possession of a shotgun with the valid certificate."
In mitigation, Dicks defence lawyer said: "He is a decent, honest and by all accounts kind man. However, what happened to him over a short period of time shows just how fragile all our lives can be. He lost his mother and father shortly after one another, and due to him moving in to care with his mother he marriage broke down.
"He then began a relationship with a woman, however, she would go on to steal a Rolex given to him from his father and both his parents wedding rings. Which he reported to the police, however, he then began being harassed by her friends."
He added: "It was under this pressure he did something very much out of character, and only did it because he wanted to scare the men harassing."
Friends, family and a former employer at a gun shop provided references for Dicks.
Judge Gosling said: "I have no doubt to believe those who say you are a decent man. However, bringing any kind of firearm, real of imitation, into a public place cannot be tolerated as they provoke massive fear in the public."