Public ‘bravery’ heralded after gun-wielding man jailed

Bristol Crown Court.

Bristol Crown Court. - Credit: Archant

A MAN who was spotted waving a weapon in a busy Weston street, while accompanied by two young children, was sent to prison for a year last Friday.

Robert Ashton, aged 40, was seen brandishing an imitation firearm in Moorland Road before being detained by members of the public, earning them a commendation and a cash reward from the courts.

One woman said she had been walking along Moorland Road when Ashton waved what she believed to be a handgun at her.

Witnesses said Ashton appeared to be drunk or under the influence of drugs, and he was arrested after the incident on November 10 following the arrival of police officers, firearms officers and the police helicopter after several emergency calls were logged by witnesses.

Officers then seized a knife from Ashton and found an air pistol nearby.

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Investigating officer Detective Constable Nick Riley said at the time: “I would like to commend the bravery of the members of the public who stepped in and detained the suspect.”

DC Riley also added a warning for other gun owners, by explaining that although it is not an offence to possess an air weapon, it is illegal to have an air weapon in a public place, regardless of whether it is loaded.

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During sentencing at Bristol Crown Court on May 8, two witnesses were awarded £250 each from public funds for their bravery in helping to detain Ashton.

Ashton had already pleaded guilty to possession of an imitation firearm with intent, and having a bladed article in a public place, during a preliminary hearing at Bristol Crown Court on April 2.

He received a sentence of 12 months in prison for both offences, to run concurrently.

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