Cafe boss spared jail for gun threat

York Crown Court
York Crown Court

A SCARBOROUGH entrepreneur narrowly escaped prison when he appeared in court charged with pointing a gun from his flat window and threatening to shoot people gathered outside.

Callum Burns, 21, the owner of Café Heart in St Helen’s Square, appeared at York Crown Court for sentencing yesterday after having previously admitting possessing a firearm with intent to cause fear or violence.

The court heard that the gun, an air rifle, had not been loaded or cocked, but as Burns pointed the weapon from his flat window he threatened those outside: “If you don’t go away from my house I’ll shoot you.”

Jessica Strange, prosecuting, said that at the time of the offence on May 26 this year, there were several children playing outside the flat in Durham Street, Scarborough.

She told the court that Burns had been in the flat with a friend, who had gone to the home of another man in nearby Clarke Street, armed with a cricket bat and making some threats.

However he left without any violence taking place and was followed by three men back to Durham Street.

It was while they were gathered outside Burns’ flat that he first shouted at them to go away, but then appeared at the window with the gun, described as being 42in long with a 19in barrel.

When Burns threatened to shoot the weapon, one of the men outside challenged him to do just that, turning his back on Burns before telephoning for the police.

Burns eventually put down the gun and went outside to beg the men not to call the police, but to talk things through instead.

The court heard that Burns had been afraid of the men gathered outside who he knew to be on bail for a previous act of violence.

The court was told that Burns has no relevant convictions, having only one for a drug related offence.

Taryn Turner, mitigating, said that it was a case of her client, described by his doctor as a vulnerable person, over-reacting to a situation.

She added that the weapon, which was not powerful enough to need a firearms certificate, was not discharged.

Mrs Turner said that Burns was a hard-working young man who was bucking the economic trend by starting up a business and employing two people.

Passing sentence, Judge Colin Burn told Burns that if the weapon had been fired he would most certainly have been starting an immediate custodial sentence.

However, he said that by taking into consideration the mitigating facts, particularly the lack of previous convictions, his age and his work, he was able to suspend the inevitable prison sentence.