Man jailed for pointing rifle at doorman

A GAMEKEEPER who pointed a loaded rifle at a Stowmarket nightclub bouncer has been jailed for three years.

A GAMEKEEPER who pointed a loaded rifle at a Stowmarket nightclub bouncer has been jailed for three years.

Taroe Westgate was fuelled with rage and alcohol when he lifted the weapon on to his shoulder and aimed it at Joker's Nightclub doorman Kevin Barry, Ipswich Crown Court heard.

Westgate had spoken to ex-girlfriend Natalie Brown in the Duke's Head pub on the evening of June 14, three weeks after their break up, and then turned up later to the club where she worked.

Samantha Leigh prosecuting said there had been a “ruck” between Mr Barry and Westgate, who had been drunk.

Mr Barry told police he grabbed Westgate after he had become aggressive, forcing him to the ground and then ejecting him from the club.

Humiliated, Westgate, 36, of Thirlmere Drive, Stowmarket, went to his car in Joker's car park and took out the high velocity loaded air rifle.

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He then stood outside the club about 15 metres away from Mr Barry and aimed it at him with the safety catch on.

The court heard that a police armed response unit arrived and an officer had Westgate in his gun sights before the gamekeeper lowered his weapon and returned to his car.

Westgate, who has a record for dishonesty and violence, drove away but was stopped by police and provided a positive breath test which revealed he had 83 micrograms of alcohol in 100 millilitres of breath. The legal limit is 35mg.

Westgate told police he had spent the day fishing and drinking lager in Felixstowe with his friend and had stopped off to shoot rabbits with the air rifle before driving to Stowmarket for a night out.

Westgate pleaded guilty to possessing a fire arm with intent to cause fear or violence and to not having a fire arm certificate.

Westgate, who had a conviction for drink-driving in 2002, also admitted driving with excess alcohol.

Judge John Holt said Mr Barry's adrenalin levels had “exploded” when the weapon was pointed at him.

Judge Holt added: “Mr Barry said 'I thought I was about to die and was preparing myself for the sting of the bullet'.

“But to his credit he stayed outside trying to get people into the club.”

Judge Holt said it was fortunate that police restraint had prevented Westgate being shot by officers.

Westgate was jailed for a total of three years and disqualified from driving for three years.

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