Original article no longer available
The Yorkshire Post
Published Date: 03 October 2008
By Olwen Dudgeon
PLAGUED by anti-social behaviour on his estate, a man snapped when a rugby ball was kicked against his window and he followed the teenager responsible before threatening him with an imitation gun.
Leeds Crown Court heard yesterday that Andrew Riley was already on medication for depression when the incident happened on September 9 last year.
Convinced the ball had been kicked deliberately against the window, Riley, wearing boxer shorts and a dressing gown, got into his car in Queenshill Avenue, Leeds, and pursued the 15-year-old boy and his friends to the nearby Moor Allerton shopping centre.
Once there he approached the boy, grabbed him around the neck with both hands and began dragging him back to his car. When the teenager told one of his friends to get the police, Riley said he was going to call them.
He then reached inside his dressing gown and pulled out what the boy believed was an air weapon, which Riley pointed at him saying he was going to shoot him.
David Hurlstone, prosecuting, told the court the boy was shocked and scared and fled after punching Riley in the stomach, but told police later he thought he was going to be shot.
He said he and his friends had been passing the ball between them when he kicked it and it accidentally struck the window.
When he was later arrested, Riley told police he had put his two children to bed when he heard something hit the window. Because of what had happened in the past, he lost his patience.
Philip Morris, for Riley, said the defendant realised now his behaviour was irrational but they were the actions “of a man suffering depression at the end of his tether”.
Riley, 37, who admitted possessing an imitation firearm with intent to cause fear of violence and common assault, was jailed for six months.
Judge Shaun Spencer QC said he accepted Riley had been the victim of anti-social behaviour in the past and the defendant genuinely believed the boy had deliberately kicked the ball against his window.
But the judge added the fact that Riley had grabbed the boy by the throat and produced an imitation firearm “is in any view an excessive reaction”.