Dangerous fantasist jailed

A GUN-TOTING fantasist jailed for accidentally shooting his former girlfriend is today back behind bars after he subjected an Ipswich couple to a terrifying armed ordeal.

A GUN-TOTING fantasist jailed for accidentally shooting his former girlfriend is today back behind bars after he subjected an Ipswich couple to a terrifying armed ordeal.

Alexander Powell showed no emotion in the dock, at Ipswich Crown Court, as he was sentenced to seven years in prison having previously pleaded guilty to possession of a weapon with intent to cause fear of violence.

At around 1.30am on October 24, dressed all in black, with an imitation pistol, knife and handcuffs, Powell smashed through a front room window into the Bostock Road home of Aimee and Alistair Wright who were awoken by the commotion.

Powell, 24, of Stoney Road, Grundisburgh, was tackled by Mr Wright and a neighbour, who had been alerted by Mrs Wright's screams.

The court heard Powell had admitted to having "dark fantasies" and had thought about kidnapping a woman.

Prosecuting, Simon Spence, said the defendant had broken into his father's home during the evening of October 23, before stealing his car keys and driving erratically towards Ipswich, forgetting to turn the car headlights on and shunting another car on his way, before breaking into the Wright's home.

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Mr Spence said: "Two victims were awoken by breaking glass. The defendant had got into the house by forcing himself through the window armed with an imitation firearm. He also had with him a knife and handcuffs.

"Mrs Wright was clearly frightened and she was screaming very loudly. Her husband showed commendable courage by holding him down."

It was at this point that Powell pulled out the gun, pointing it at Mr Wright, who grabbed it and continued to struggle with the defendant.

A neighbour who was woken by the screams then helped Mr Wright, the pair holding Powell down.

Mitigating, Naomi Perry said Powell was sorry for his actions.

She said: "He knows what he was doing was wrong. When asked how he feels about Mr and Mrs Wright, he said he would like to apologise but he did not think it was a good idea because he thought any contact from him may freak them out.

"He said looking back at what he did scared him. He has a sense of remorse."

She said in the psychiatric report carried out prior to sentencing, Powell had been "very frank".

She added: "It is recognised by him that what he was doing was abnormal behaviour. He is a person who has restrained some of his fantasies."

Powell served half of an 18-month prison sentence, given to him in June 2003, after he accidentally shot his then girlfriend, Michelle Coulson in the neck, paralysing her in a freak accident at his father's home.

Sentencing Powell, Judge David Goodin described the incident as an "exceptionally worrying case".

He said: "You have been in custody before for an offence involving a firearm belonging to your father but it is more alarming on this occasion that you chose again to arm yourself with a weapon.

"Even taking the offence simply as it appears it is one of extreme seriousness.

"You went to Mr and Mrs Wright's house dressed in black wearing a balaclava and sunglasses and you invaded their home. You terrified them and they must have thought their last moment had come.

"Even more sinister than what happened on that night was the interview you gave where you described a history of violent fantasies towards women. You described an urge to kidnap a woman.

"It's my duty to protect the public. I have to satisfy the public conscience."

Powell was sentenced to seven years as well as 12 months for breaking into his father's home and 12 months for taking his father's car, all to run concurrent.

ALEX Powell's victims today hailed the sentence handed at Ipswich Crown Court out as "brilliant".

Aimee Wright said: "We are both very happy with it. The barrister did not think he would get that long a sentence so we're very happy.

"I feel I personally have been very lucky after some of the things said in court because I was the intended target.

"It has been a terrifying ordeal and seven years is nothing to how it has affected us. We've been through so much but we are still very pleased with the sentence.

"Hopefully this is the end of a difficult time."

Dc Danny Mayhew, the officer in the case, echoed Mrs Wright's sentiments.

He said: "I'm pleased the case has come to a successful conclusion. Obviously praise should be given to the victims who grappled with the offender and helped detain him until officers arrived. They had an extremely terrifying ordeal.

"I'm pleased for the victims that the matter has come to a successful conclusion. I think the sentence reflects the seriousness of the actions of Powell, bearing in mind he was carrying a number of weapons."

The incident happened at 1.30am on a Sunday morning after the couple had returned home from a night out.

Speaking days after their frightening ordeal, Mr Wright described the moment he came face to face with Powell.

He said: "I saw the gun and thought I was going to die."

"He fell on the floor and I tried to hold him down. That's when he pulled out the gun.

"As soon as I saw it I really thought our lives were in danger and I told him he could take anything in the house if he just gave me the gun.

"The whole situation felt like a dream. It seemed like something out of the movies. I would never confront a man with a gun but the adrenaline just took over and I knew I had to stop him."

The couple, who had only moved into the house two months before the burglary happened, said it was a long time after the incident before they slept in the house again.

Mr Wright added: "We stayed with relatives for several nights after the event because we were too scared to stay in the house."