A man who brought two guns to a famous North Yorkshire pub in an attempt to protect himself during a simmering feud has been jailed for 19 years for shooting an innocent man in the arm.

Richard Bowser, 46, brought a shotgun and a reactivated pistol to the Tan Hill Inn,  Britain's highest pub, Teesside Crown Court heard. 

Detective Superintendent Fran Naughton of North Yorkshire Police, said: “We welcome the lengthy sentence handed in court today.

“We hope this sentence sends a clear message that violence, threatening behaviour and use of illegal firearms has no place in North Yorkshire, the actions of one man that night were abhorrent and have had a lasting effect on all those involved in this horrendous ordeal.

“The victim must be praised for his bravery and assistance throughout this investigation which played a fundamental part in gaining this conviction. Although we can’t undo the events of that evening, I hope the sentence passed today, will help give the victim some closure.”

A jury heard how the 46-year-old violently lashed out against staff and customers inside the remote pub after he was unable to settle his bar bill when the card reader failed.

Teesside Crown Court heard how Bowser became enraged and CCTV showed him slapping the bar manager before assaulting several people as they tried to force him out of the pub.

York Press: The damaged door at the Tan Hill Inn where Richard Bowser fired the handgunThe damaged door at the Tan Hill Inn where Richard Bowser fired the handgun (Image: Graeme Hetherington)

Jurors watched video of Bowser returning to his glamping pod while staff locked down the pub to protect customers while they waited for police to arrive.

They heard that Lee Jackson, brother-in-law of one of the men assaulted inside the pub, went looking for Bowser and was confronted by the burly defendant.

Judge Harold Crowson, sentencing Bowser, told him: " You were already carrying the revolver and you followed him to the bathroom. You put the revolver to his head and pulled the trigger, an action which required you first to have cocked the hammer.

"That he laughed was not an insult but an expression of relief and as you began to fiddle with revolver he saw his opportunity and quickly opened the door to bedroom nine, closing it behind him and bracing himself against it.

"Outside you quickly loaded the revolver with four bulleted cartridges and discharged then through the door with the consequences that I have already described before walking calmly back to your accommodation where you took out the shorted shotgun and discharged it to the sky."

A bullet had lodged in Mr Jackson's arm. 

The jury convicted Bowser of wounding with intention and of possessing firearms with the intent to endanger life. He had previously admitted assault and possession of firearms as a result of the incident last summer.

The 46-year-old of Worcester Place, Bishop Auckland, was jailed for 19 years, plus a four-year extended prison licence.  He has previous convictions for violence and weapons offences, including possession of a machete.

York Press: The glamping pod where Richard Bowser was staying at the Tan Hill InnThe glamping pod where Richard Bowser was staying at the Tan Hill Inn (Image: Graeme Hetherington)

Alistair MacDonald KC, representing Bowser, told the court that his client has requested that his family did not attend the sentencing hearing.

Dealing with the wounding with intent conviction, he said: "There was no suggestion of planning."

The barrister said Bowser maintains that none of the weapons were loaded when he travelled from his home to the remote pub, located high on the Pennines, on July 21 last year. But the judge rejected that. 

Mr MacDonald said Bowser was ashamed of his behaviour inside the bar where he assaulted staff and customers following problems settling his bar bill.

York Press: Richard Bowser was given a 23-year sentenceRichard Bowser was given a 23-year sentence (Image: North Yorkshire Police)

He said the firearms incidents would not have occurred if Mr Jackson had not tried to confront his client following the violence inside the pub.