Chorley man who pulled a gun on police jailed

Michael Clarke
Michael Clarke

A man who threatened to shoot himself because he was “upset” at the beheading of a British man pointed a gun at officers who were trying to calm him, a court heard.

Michael Clarke, 45, of Monks Drive, Withnell, Chorley, has been jailed for two years and three months over the incident, in which he told officers he wanted to go out and “shoot other people”.

Preston Crown Court heard officers “feared a deadly force” when he then pointed a gun towards them while talking to them in his plush detached home.

He later claimed he had bought the imitation weapon on Facebook as a gift for his brother.

Judge Beverly Lunt said: “These officers went to your house to help you, to sit you down, to assist you in the mood you were in.

“I cannot begin to imagine the horror and the fear of sitting, and then somebody pulling out a gun.

“Police officers or not, they are human beings.”

Prosecuting, David Clarke said at 1.50am on October 4, police received a message to attend the address, where a man was threatening to cause harm to himself and shoot himself.

He said: “The defendant came to the door but didn’t open it. The house was in complete darkness.

“They were concerned and knocked on the door again.

“The defendant said he didn’t want any trouble, allowed officers in, and was asked why he phoned them.

“He said he had been watching news, and was very upset in drink by the beheading of a British hostage by ISIS – but now he wanted to go out and shoot a lot of other people.

“He said he had two air rifles but the officers were increasingly concerned by his moods switching between anger and being upset.

The officer asked where they were being kept. He reached his hand down into a cushion and produced what they thought at that time was a loaded firearm.

“At first he held it at his side, then he pointed at the ceiling, but then lowered it towards the officers.

“They feared a deadly force and reacted. One grabbed his arm and the other grabbed his face and ordered him to drop the weapon.”

The man was eventually handcuffed and arrested. One of the officers said: “ When I saw a barrel I honestly thought ‘I’m going to die’, and I’m not afraid to admit I was extremely scared.”

Clarke pleaded guilty to two counts of possession of imitation firearm, and a common assault.

Defending, Darren Lee Smith said: “These were out of character actions committed at a time when in a low mood, made worse by the excessive consumption of alcohol.”