‘Tormented’ pensioner jailed for having loaded shotgun in car

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.

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3 thoughts on “‘Tormented’ pensioner jailed for having loaded shotgun in car

  1. Nick

    That’s such a waste of everyone’s time, the effort and the expense. I understand that there’s the concept of strict liability but you’d have to say was there a public interest in prosecuting an 88 year old man – which resulted in a mandatory custodial sentence?

    IMHO – NO.

    Should said pensioner have a loaded shotgun in his car – NO.
    Surely in this case, discretion should have been excercised – revoke the certificates, remove the guns and job done. No one needs to goto jail, and nobody gets offed by a frightened pensioner (toe rag or otherwise).

    I feel for the old guy, but this is heavy handed. He was stupid for sure but a revocation would have been enough.

    He’s only compounded his situation by not locking up the guns (plural) so he can’t be judged to be thinking properly.

    In this case – there’s no winners here 😦

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  2. Steven Wolf

    This might sound controversial but I wish that we would have the right to self-defense with a gun in Britain. Especially in this situation you couldn’t say that an old guy is supposed to go hand to hand with a much younger and even multiple attackers. These kids of laws discriminate against the most vulnerable in society such as women, old people, children.

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    1. Rich

      You DO have the right to self defense with a gun. And a knife, and anything else that comes to hand.

      The law however, prohibits going out “equipped”, and separately, the firearms law also places stipulations on the manner in which firearms may be transported and stored. This is precisely to prevent the sort of tragic and utterly avoidable incidents that America has seen where toddlers have offed themselves, siblings or parents with loaded firearms that their cretinous parents have left lying around the place. In this instance, having a loaded shotgun in the car allows for the possibility of a slamfire to seriously compound the consequences of a car accident or collision (which is more likely since it notes he is of poor health including heart problems amongst others, dramatically increasing his risk of having an accident).

      A custodial sentence here seems grossly excessive, however it would be right and proper to revoke the certificates and take the guns. If he can’t store and carry them in accordance with the law then he has failed to demonstrate the good judgement necessary to possess them.

      There does seem to be a problem in general with people not reporting “minor” incidents such as kids causing grief because they don’t perceive that the Police will do anything about it. Equally though, the Police definitely won’t do anything about stuff they don’t know about, so it’s a bit of a vicious circle. If they’re not just covering ass and genuinely haven’t received any complaints from Delph, then actually, what were they supposed to do?

      “Especially in this situation you couldn’t say that an old guy is supposed to go hand to hand with a much younger and even multiple attackers.”

      Who said anything about attackers? If there had been any suggestion of assault or physical violence the Police would have been all over it. The article refers to them being “tormented”. There is the nasty incident of the cat, but other than that it seems more likely that Delph felt afraid to go out because of groups of youths loitering on street corners, scrawling graffiti or maybe even shouting obscenities and the like. Whilst that is bad in and of itself, it is a VERY long way from those kids actually going up to him and mugging or assaulting him.

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