Man jailed for possessing shotgun - Hoddesdon

16/01/2015

Neighbours called the police when they heard a gun fired in a Hoddesdon flat early in the morning. Officers arrived to find a four inch hole in the living room wall, along with drunken Gary Chamberlain who said: "I nearly shot my face off."

Chamberlain, aged 44, told them he had placed the shotgun, which was still loaded, under the mattress of the bed where his 19-year-old daughter was sleeping, St Albans Crown Court heard today, Friday, 16 January 2015.

Prosecutor Douglas Page said the police went to the flat at eight minutes past one on 28 November last year. "The defendant was intoxicated and there was a real risk to him and his daughter," he said.

Chamberlain, of Marquis Court, Salisbury Road, Hoddesdon, pleaded guilty to possessing a shotgun without a certificate and possessing a small amount of cannabis. He had previous convictions going back to 1985 for dishonesty, possessing an offensive weapon, criminal damage and assault.

Geoffrey Payne, defending, said: "He made full admissions to the police and showed them where the gun was located. He accepts he did not have a licence for the shotgun and had got it 18 months earlier from his father, who had been suffering from cancer, and was moving to sheltered accommodation. He accepts he should have got rid of it. With his convictions he would not have got a licence."

Mr Payne said that Chamberlain had told probation officers that he had fired the gun in a suicide attempt. He said there was no evidence he had fired it before. At the time, he said, Chamberlain had used far too much cannabis and had a drink problem. He had been an HGV driver, but lost his job 2 years ago and became bored. His drinking problem began 5 years ago when he divorced and became a recluse, having realised he had thrown away his marriage.

Since spending two months on remand, Mr Payne said Chamberlain had abstained from drink and drugs. He had been diagnosed as dyslexic and was now taking an English GCSE.

Judge Andrew Bright QC said it was a mystery as to why he had fired the gun but said: "You came close to blowing your face off whether intentionally or by accident." He told him the courts have to pass harsh sentences on those possessing guns without a licence because they could be used by criminals. He sentenced him to 16 months jail. Judge Bright told him: "You need to address your drink problem. You need to get yourself sorted out."

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