September 6th, 2016

Stratford man jailed for firearm and knife possession

Stratford man jailed for firearm and knife possession Stratford man jailed for firearm and knife possession
Updated: 4:15 pm, Mar 05, 2016

WHEN the police turned up at a Stratford man’s flat after being alerted by a concerned neighbour, he pointed an air rifle and then a pistol at them through a window.

There followed a stand-off for almost an hour before Matthew Claricoates eventually relinquished the weapons and was arrested.

But he was granted bail – and four months later was found drunk in the town’s skate park with a knife, a judge at Warwick Crown Court heard.

Claricoates, of Drayton Avenue, was jailed for two years and nine months after pleading guilty to possessing a firearm and an imitation firearm with intent to cause fear of violence and possessing a bladed article in public.

Prosecutor Scott Coughtrie said that in February last year a drunken Claricoates went to the home of a neighbour around 10.30pm, telling her: “I just need a friend.”

She went to speak to her partner, and when she returned to the door, 28-year-old Claricoates had an air pistol in his hand.

He told her he did not want to come in and asked her to go to his flat instead, but she made an excuse not to do so, and he left.

Three hours later PC Alison Radbourne and three other officers went to Claricoates’ first-floor flat to check on his welfare after being contacted by a concerned neighbour.

While they were in the communal area on the first floor, one of the officers saw a figure behind the glass door holding a long object.

Claricoates then poked the barrel of an air rifle at the officers through a window.

The rifle, which had a Swiss Army knife secured to the barrel, was retracted after a matter of seconds but as officers were talking to him, he pointed an air pistol at them through the same window.

It then took almost an hour for the officers to talk him into relinquishing the two weapons before they went into the flat and he was arrested.

When he was interviewed he gave a prepared statement in which he accepted having the guns but denied intending to cause fear of violence.

In June, while he was out on bail, a young man cycling through the Stratford skate park saw Claricoates lying on the ground – and as he got up, the cyclist saw he had a knife.

He contacted the police, and when officers arrived they found Claricoates ‘asleep and clearly in drink,’ but he denied the knife was his.

The court heard Claricoates had convictions for drink-related offences, as well as two convictions in 2009 for having bladed articles in public and a caution for having a loaded air weapon in public in 2007.

Sean Logan, defending, said a psychiatric report on Claricoates indicated he suffers from depression and anxiety but these were alcohol and drug-induced conditions.

He added having spent five months in custody, he was now on medication that makes him feel ‘like a different person.’

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