Shot Seaford man Paul Allwright jailed for six years

  • 27 March 2013
  • From the section Sussex
Paul Allwright
Image caption Paul Allwright admitted possessing a firearm with intent to endanger life

A man who was shot three times by armed police during a stand-off with officers outside his home in East Sussex has been jailed for six years.

Paul Allwright, 63, of North Way, in Seaford, admitted at Lewes Crown Court to possession of a firearm with intent to endanger life on 16 September.

He admitted threatening to shoot police during the siege in which he was shot twice in the chest and once in the leg

An attempted murder charge for the incident was dropped.

'Systematic failings'

Judge Mr Justice Nicol said Allwright would serve half his six-year sentence behind bars and the remainder on licence.

The court was told that "systemic failings" by Sussex Police in its firearms licensing procedures allowed Allwright to retain his weapon - a single-barrelled shotgun - against medical advice.

Prosecutor Ryan Richter said Allwright, who had held a shotgun licence issued by Sussex Police since 2007, was due to have it renewed four months earlier in May last year.

He had submitted his documents and payment for the licence, but a backlog of about 1,700 applications at Sussex Police meant his was not looked at until August.

Mr Richter said his disclosure that he had depression prompted an approach to his GP who felt he was unsuitable to hold a firearms licence.

However, despite selling two of his guns, Allwright still held one at the time he became involved in the armed stand-off.

Image caption Armed police called to the bungalow in Seaford found Allwright wielding a single-barrelled shotgun

A report by independent defence expert Gary Gracey said: "A series of serious systemic failings in the firearms and licensing procedures by Sussex Police allowed Mr Allwright to retain his weapon against medical advice."

Armed officers were sent to his home on 15 September following reports Allwright had a gun and was threatening to shoot his dog and wife.

The court heard a police helicopter, further firearms units and specially-trained negotiators were deployed as Allwright paced around with his gun, pointing it at officers who surrounded his home.

Accidental 'reflex' action

He ignored requests to drop his weapon and with officers fearing for their safety, a live round and a baton round was fired but neither had a significant effect.

Further baton rounds and two more live rounds were discharged by officers, resulting in Allwright returning fire in what was believed to have been an accidental "reflex" action. No officer was injured.

Allwright was treated for his injuries in hospital and was arrested four weeks later following his recovery.

Sussex Police said they accepted the criticisms over their failings relating to their firearms and licensing systems.

However, Det Supt Nick May, of the Surrey and Sussex major crime branch, said it was "a national issue".

"There are 26,000 firearms licence holders in Sussex, and it's a significant number."

He said no criminal or misconduct issues emerged from the actions of any of the officers involved on the night, and that changes had been made to firearms licensing procedures.

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