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Saturday, 21 February 2009

Andrew Richardson, 48, accidentally shipped a lethal revolver and ammunition from America


Andrew Richardson, 48, accidentally shipped a lethal revolver and ammunition from America, where he had been living, when he returned to live in the county 12 years ago. Instead of handing it in to police he decided to keep it, placing the weapon in storage.But yesterday a judge at Norwich Crown Court said he had no option but to jail Richardson as the weapon could have easily fallen into the wrong hands. Last night it emerged family and friends had been unaware of the court appearance - and only learnt the full details when contacted by the EDP. His father, leading Norfolk farmer, broadcaster and commentator, David Richardson said he could not comment until he knew the full facts of the case. Robert Warner, prosecuting, told the court the .22 revolver which was in full working order was found placed in a green shoe box along with 10 to 15 live cartridges which could be used in the gun.Mr Warner said that a police check revealed the gun had not been used in any known crimes: “There is no evidence this weapon has been fired in relation to any matters that police are aware of.”When questioned by the police, Richardson said he had been given the gun and had used it to shoot rattlesnakes.The court heard that he placed the gun in secure storage with the Big Yellow Self Storage Company, in Norwich, after it was transported amongst his other belongings.But after a dispute over rent with the company the items were sent to a Norfolk auction house and when the gun and ammunition were found, police were called in and Richardson was arrested and interviewed about the matter.Under tight new laws to crackdown on gun crime the minimum term for possessing an illegal gun is five years, unless there are exceptional circumstances.When questioned by police he said Richardson told police how he had spent a significant period of time from 1980 to 1997 living in the United States. Richardson, of Damage Street Wymondham, who is of previous good character admitted possession of a gun and ammunition without a certificate.Jailing him, Recorder Peter Guest said that the tight laws on firearms were as a result of Parliament's concern about the potential availability of firearms to criminals.He added: “The law is concerned here with firearms which are lethal weapons. You acquired this weapon legally in the Unites States and I am told it was brought to this country not at you behest, but accidently.“You realised that this firearm should have been given to the authorities for destruction but you did not do that. It is impossible to fathom why you thought it appropriate to keep this lethal weapon and ammunition in storage.”He said if a criminal gang had broken into the secure storage depot they might have got their hands on the gun.“If it had been someone with a criminal mind then it could have taken a different course and that gun and ammunition could have fallen into the wrong hands and be used potentially for lethal purposes,” Mr Guest added.Jude Durr, for Richardson, argued there were mitigating circumstances. He said that Mr Richardson was highly experienced businessman and had been working in Texas before his return to the UK where he was legally given the gun by his employer.Mr Durr said the Richardson had planned to deal with it later but in the meantime had placed it with other items into secure storage and forgot about it as it had such a “non-existent role” in his life.After the hearing his legal team said they were considering appealing against the sentence.

1 comments:

Aboo said...

Poor Andrew! That is a real big shame! So sorry to hear that.

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