A MAN who barricaded himself in his home then repeatedly shot at police officers with an air rifle in a three-and-a-half hour siege has been jailed for two years.
Charles Edward Wallace held officers at bay, two days after his mother Pauline had been sentenced by York magistrates for animal cruelty, having kept nearly 200 snakes in the family’s home.
The son targeted police with the red laser sight of his air rifle and warned them he would not come out alive during the night siege in Osbaldwick Lane, York Crown Court heard.
Stephen Littlewood, prosecuting, said Wallace fired eight or nine times, hitting the fence behind which armed police were sheltering. He said: “One or two of the shots hit the fence within a foot or two of the officers.”
Wallace’s barrister, Chris Dunn, said his client had mental health difficulties.
“He needs medication and he needs to stay off alcohol, and when he does that, he is entirely normal, behaves in an entirely normal way and is not a criminal,” said the barrister.
The Recorder of York, Judge Stephen Ashurst, said: “There is legitimate public concern about people who use weapons in such an anti-social and potentially dangerous manner.”
He praised the police for the professional way they had dealt with the incident and prevented it ending in tragedy, and jailed Wallace for two years.
The judge said the rifle was not powerful enough to kill a human, but could cause serious injury if someone was hit in a vulnerable place.
Wallace, 35, of Osbaldwick Lane, York, pleaded guilty to possessing a firearm with intent to make police fear violence.
On January 30, York magistrates gave Pauline Wallace, 65, of the same address, a community order with 12 months’ supervision and banned her from keeping snakes for a year after she admitted nine charges of animal ill-treatment towards snakes and a dog.
York Crown Court heard that late on January 31, she called police because her son had barricaded himself in their living room with the air rifle and was threatening to kill himself.
He fired through a window at the armed police, who negotiated with him for three and a half hours by telephone until he gave himself up.
Mr Dunn said there had been a “toxic combination of events” that night and Wallace had been in the grip of a “mental trauma”.
He was thankful the police’s skill and professionalism meant he was still alive and he had no grudge against the police.