A father aged 50, whom chased two youths after they stole his sons scooter has been jailed for 7 years. This is after he purposefully rammed them off the road, and an accomplice fired a shotgun over the youth’s heads.
Paul O’Neill had been claiming that his family were being threatened by the yobs after his son’s scooter had been stolen by them and he had reported it to the police.
Liverpool Crown Court heard how Mr O’Neill had recruited an unidentified gunman and chased the youth’s in his Audi. When he caught up with them, Mr O’Neill then deliberately knocked the thieves off the bike in Knotty Ash (Liverpool). At this point the masked gunman then got out of the car and fired the gun over the thieves’ heads causing the pellets to hit the wall of an unoccupied house.
The gunman then runs back to the Audi and then drives off. At which point a concerned resident came out of his home, while one of the thieves picked up the scooter and apologises to the stunned resident before walking away.
The resident gave a description of that matching Mr O’Neill’s appearance and had also noted the registration plate on the Audi which lead police back to his home. This coupled with the whole incident being caught on a recording dash cam, made it a fairly open and shut case.
O’Neill admitted possessing a firearm with the intent to cause fear of violence and dangerous driving. Andrew Jebb (defending) said
“it was the ‘culmination’ of a series of events after his son’s scooter was stolen and police contacted. Pressure was then brought to bear to ensure that no complaint was followed up and then these threats continued.
O’Neill reached ‘the end of his tether’ and made a ‘terrible decision’ to accept the help of an armed acquaintance. For him to snap in the way that he did and engage in this behaviour, there must have been a considerable stress upon him.”
Judge Robert Warnock jailed O’Neil for 7 years and banned him from driving for 6 ½ also seizing the Audi saying
“it was a dangerous, reckless and wholly disproportionate response to the problems you perceived you and your family were suffering”.
Now from our point of view here at SMIDSY, it does feel like it was somewhat an over the top response. However, we have no details regarding the abuse and harassment that the O’Neill family faced before the problem reached this stage –though we can only presume that is must have been considerable for it to warrant such an explosive reaction.
This is the first stand or show of strength we have heard of when it comes to motorbike thefts, and it has ended terribly for those that have defended themselves – albeit in an over the top manner.
We are yet to see any huge change following the polices policy to protect officers whom pursue those who ride without helmets (see – Tougher stance on moped gangs and bike theives!) and as it stands the thieves appear to still be gaining more support than those who stand up to them.
For more help on bike security, please see another article – Bike Security
We would like to hear your feedback, regarding the way that Mr O’Neill dealt with this, the jail term he received and any other comments or information you may have on this case.