WHEN police searched a south Warwickshire couple’s home, they found a prohibited Luger pistol, a sawn-off shotgun, ammunition and an array of knives.
The hoard was being stored by their grandson Neno Dodd, who was living with them at the time, a judge has heard.
Dodd, of Wilson Place, Oxford, was jailed for five years after pleading guilty at Warwick Crown Court to possessing a prohibited firearm.
The 20 year-old also admitted possessing an altered firearm without a certificate and possessing ammunition without authority, for which he was given concurrent two-year sentences.
Daniel Oscroft, prosecuting, said while staying with his grandparents at their home in Ascott, Shipston, Dodd, who suffers from Asperger’s syndrome, had stored two firearms.
They were a 9mm Luger pistol, which is a prohibited weapon, and a shotgun which the court heard had been shortened, but not so much as to make it also a prohibited weapon.
The presence of the weapons had been reported by his grandfather to the mental health team after Dodd had made threats to harm his mother.
The police were notified, and when officers went to the house Dodd tried to draw them away from the location of the weapons, and then fled, but was later arrested.
In Dodd’s bedroom they found the Luger, wrapped in a t-shirt, and eight rounds of 9mm ammunition, while the shotgun and some cartridges were found in the spare bedroom opposite.
Officers also recovered a quantity of clothing, a machete and a number of knives – although there was no charge in relation to those because they were not being possessed in a public place.
When he was questioned Dodd, who also admitted damaging the window of another house in Ascott, made no comment.
Mr Oscroft added Dodd had been made subject to two referral orders for battery as a youth, was given a two-year youth rehabilitation order for wounding with intent after stabbing someone in 2013, and in January 2015 Oxford magistrates imposed a community order on him for possessing a knife in a public place.
Judge Andrew Lockhart QC observed: “One weapon, the Luger, can have no lawful use in society. It was never going to be used for anything lawful.”
Told Dodd now says he was holding it for others, the judge remarked: “Knowing they would be using it. It would have been for significant criminal activity.
“He intended to possess it, and to give it back on call. There is the inference to be drawn that they [the Luger and the shotgun] would be used for violent crime.”
Andrew Smith QC, defending, submitted psychological and psychiatric reports on Dodd, and argued that his Asperger’s and other problems amounted to ‘exceptional circumstances such that the court should not impose the minimum term of five years’ which is set for possessing a prohibited firearm.
Mr Smith said there was no evidence either firearm had been used in crime, or that Dodd intended to do so.
“The most obvious explanation for his criminality was that Mr Dodd was taken advantage of, not that that excuses it.
“He was an individual who was highly suggestible. He genuinely considered those he was dealing with as friends.”
Rejecting the submission that he could pass a sentence of less than the five-year minimum, Judge Lockhart told Dodd: “You have antecedents which are relevant and significant.
“You were at school in Oxford until the summer of 2016, and your mother then chose to place you with your grandparents in Shipston, and you were there with them during the course of the summer.
“You were suffering from mental health difficulties, but it is absolutely clear to me that you became involved with a group of young men based in a city away from this county, and you were going there to parties and the like.
“You agreed, subsequent to a request by them, to look after weapons for them. There can be no doubt you knew the only use those weapons could be put to was in serious criminality.
“There are other weapons which you have not been charged over, but they are a frightening array of weapons… none of which could have had a lawful purpose, having looked at them.
“Luger pistols are very effective at short range, and they have been made prohibited in order to prevent serious crime.
“Alongside it was a shotgun which it is obvious was not being held for a lawful purpose, albeit it was not a prohibited weapon, and they were stored ready to be called forward for criminal use by others.
“There was an arsenal which could wreak havoc on the streets of our cities, two firearms and a number of knives.”