A man who waved what appeared to be a gun in Spalding town centre has been spared an immediate jail sentence after Lincoln Crown Court was told that witnesses to the incident regarded him as a nuisance rather than a danger.
Matthew Bellerson was in a wheelchair in Spalding Market Place when he reached into his jacket and pulled out an item which he pointed at a 60-year-old woman.
Tony Stanford, prosecuting, said that Bellerson then shouted “bang, bang”.
“One of the witnesses thought, ‘blimey, he’s got a gun’. She was concerned enough to call the police.”
Other witnesses heard Bellerson say “I’m going to kill you” as he produced what appeared to be a firearm.
Mr Stanford said “The defendant was seen in the Market Place by the police. They knew he didn’t have a gun. He had been using the footrest of his wheelchair.
“In interview he said he had no intention to scare anyone although he said the footrest looked like a gun. He said he was off his nuts.
“There were a number of people in the vicinity at the time. No-one appears to have been distressed by what happened.”
The court was told that Bellerson had 32 previous convictions for a total of 83 offences.
South Holland District Council obtained an interim injunction against him at a court hearing earlier this month which bans him from Spalding town centre and bans him from behaviour within the South Holland District which causes alarm or distress.
Bellerson (46), of The Chase, Pinchbeck, admitted a charge of possession of an imitation firearm in a public place as a result of the incident on December 5 last year.
Bellerson told the court he was desperate to receive help. He said “I’m asking for help and I’m getting nowhere. I’m not getting it. I’m trying. I’m trying. I want to be normal. No-one listens to a word I’ve got to say.”
And the court was told that a probation report said that Bellerson had engaged “pretty well” with the service while on an earlier community order. The report author said that they felt that Bellerson could be managed within the community.
His lawyer Neil Sands said that Bellerson had made it clear he wanted help and urged that he should be given a suspended sentence rather than immediate custody.
Bellerson was given a six-month jail sentence suspended for 18 months with a 25-day rehabilitation activity requirement and a four-month electronically-monitored curfew which operates from 1pm each day.
A prosecution application for a criminal behaviour order was adjourned to next month.
Recorder Jacob Hallam QC, passing sentence, told Bellerson: “You have the advantage of a very helpful pre-sentence report. That is in part down to the way you have complied with large parts of your community order and the way you have dealt with probation in the last few months.
“You have admitted you have committed this offence. It was committed in a public place but it appears that nobody thought much of it and largely you were seen as a nuisance.
“You have asked me in very clear terms for help and that is what I am going to try to do. Probation have said that they think you can be helped and with help your offending behaviour can be addressed.
“For a long time you stayed out of trouble but your life took a turn and that has led to you coming back before the courts. I’m prepared to suspend the sentence. Now it’s up to you.”