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Nephew jailed after using imitation firearm in uncle's dispute

By John Scott | Bloxwich | News | Published:

A father of one, who was drunk and armed with an imitation firearm when he got involved in his uncle's long standing neighbours' dispute, had been jailed for 18 months.

Wolverhampton Crown Court

Johnathon Jones pointed the realistic looking pistol at Diane Betteridge when she appeared at a window of her home in Heather Road, Bloxwich on January 4, Wolverhampton Crown Court was told.

Minutes earlier she opened her front door with the safety latch on to find the 29-year-old defendant smoking a cigarette on her doorstep at 8.30pm.

Jones told her: "You cause too much trouble here and I am going to burn you out tonight," disclosed Mr Howard Searle, prosecuting.

She told the defendant he could not see her husband Paul who was ill in bed, shut the door and phoned the police leaving the defendant to bang on the door while shouting 'come on.'

When 54-year-old Mrs Betteridge next looked out of the window he had moved 30 feet away onto the roadway where he stood while removing the revolver from the waist band of his trousers, pointed it at her and repeated the threat to torch her home.

Police arrived soon afterwards and arrested when he was identified as the suspect during a trawl of nearby streets.

The targeted address was next door to the home of his uncle and the two households had been at loggerheads for years over the positioning of the fence that separated the front of their properties.

Earlier that day two concrete posts and a slot in panel of the disputed fence had been knocked down by a van reversing in the road, said Mr John Evans, defending, who continued:

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"Assumptions were made rightly or wrongly and were the catalyst for the defendant to stupidly get involved in his uncle's dispute for the first time."

Jones, who had drunk up to ten pints of cider with two vodka chasers, remembered little of what happened after his brother phoned to report his uncle was 'in trouble' with the neighbours again.

The defendant collected the unloaded 8mm air soft revolver which had been bought to use in his back garden but allegedly did not work.

Jones, from Mossley, was of previous good character but had received a caution for possession of an imitation firearm when a youth.

He admitted having a fake pistol with the intention of causing fear and was sent to prison by Judge Nicholas Webb who also imposed a restraining order banning any contact with the Betteridges' for five years.

John Scott

By John Scott
Reporter/News Feature Writer

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