A pensioner will spend at least a year behind bars after being convicted of possessing a loaded shotgun in a public place after a policeman spotted the gun on the seat of his car when he tried to report a crime.
Roy Delph, an 88-yr-old grandfather who cares for his housebound wife, was sentenced to two years in prison following his conviction at Norwich Crown Court.
According to the Daily Telegraph, Delph and his wife had been “tormented” by a local gang of youths. In the words of defence lawyer Caroline Allison: “He has been victim to criminal damage and theft by young people from the area.”
“It’s for that reason that Mr Delph approached police on this occasion and it’s of great sadness that nothing appears to have been done to these young people tormenting this old man,” she added.
The gang reportedly even killed a kitten that Delph and his wife were caring for. A Norfolk Police public relations employee claimed to the Telegraph that Delph had not reported any crimes to them.
Delph, who held a certificate for the 124-yr-old shotgun, used it to control vermin on his land. He was arrested after approaching a police constable to make a complaint about the youths and the constable spotted the shotgun, which turned out to be loaded.
In his summing-up, Judge Nicholas Coleman said: “The gun was loaded and it was found in your car in a public place. There was no excuse for that. [Police] found the gun in your car and when asked why the gun was loaded there was no answer to that.”
“It was also troubling,” the judge said, “that the police returned to your house and although you had a firearms certificate the guns were not in a secure place.”
Current sentencing rules mean Delph will receive an automatic 50% remission of his time behind bars. Under section 21 of the Firearms Act 1968, Delph will automatically be banned from possessing any firearm for five years.