‘Firearm’ stand-off in Scarborough street

View along Colescliffe Road in the Barrowcliff estate, part of which is covered by a new dispersal order. 094546m         pic Andrew Higgins   05/11/09    in News
View along Colescliffe Road in the Barrowcliff estate, part of which is covered by a new dispersal order. 094546m pic Andrew Higgins 05/11/09 in News
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A gun-toting drug user pointed a pistol at a police officer - then turned the weapon on himself.

Aaron Burns, 21, was in the grip of psychosis as he terrorised the constable before pointing the barrel of what appeared to be a Colt 45 semi-automatic revolver at himself.

As PC Steven Normandale tried to talk Burns down, the gunman pointed the weapon at his own chin and an “audible click” was heard.

But unbeknown to the officer, the pistol - which looked “for all the world ” like a genuine firearm - was a non-firing BB gun which didn’t go off.

The terrifying 15-minute stand-off occurred in Colescliffe Road, Scarborough, where Burns was seen brandishing the Colt-like patent black handgun.

“PC Normandale believed the gun was real,” prosecutor Geraldine Kelly told York Crown Court.

PC Normandale dived behind a police car for cover and called for back-up, but Burns followed him down the street, pointing the gun at him and shouting: “Get back! Move back!”

Defence barrister Glen Parsons said Burns, whose parents were sat in the public gallery, could have been shot dead if armed police had been called.

He added that Burns had long-term mental-health problems and was “acutely unwell” at the time. He was given a two-year jail sentence, suspended for 24 months, with supervision by the Probation Service and rehabilitation to address his mental-health issues.

Judge Paul Batty QC said he could suspend the inevitable prison sentence because of Burns’ lack of previous convictions and testimonials showing “that there is another side to you”.

Mr Batty also praised the courageous actions of PC Normandale and said he would be recommending a special commendation.