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Teenage air pistol gunman is jailed
A TEENAGE gunman who threatened to shoot youngsters, including his brother, at a youth club has been jailed.
Kyle Coupe went to the Marlow Avenue Youth Centre armed with a stolen air pistol and told a 13-year-old lad that he was going to open fire.
At one stage the lad thought he had fired the gun, which it was later discovered would not work unless a spring in the mechanism was reattached.
But after hearing the 19-year-old was just showing off and trying to get some ‘street cred’ from his brother and young friends, a judge imposed a two-year sentence.
James Haskell, prosecuting, told Swindon Crown Court how the incident unfolded on the evening of Monday, April 22.
At about 8pm he said Coupe turned up at the club on his bike and spoke to a 13-year-old pal, who noticed he had something tucked into the waistband of his trousers.
The defendant told him to find his brother, who was in the club, saying ‘Get him because I am going to shoot him’.
The boy went upstairs to look for him and as he came down he saw Coupe pull out what appeared to be a handgun.
He said he was pointing it at another boy as he walked towards that lad and the youngster said he thought he saw smoke coming out of the barrel of the weapon.
Coupe then threatened the lad he was pointing the gun at, saying he would take off the safety catch if he got any closer, before getting back on his bike and cycling off.
A few days later a member of the public found a rucksack which contained the gun along with Coupe’s passport and a Portland Young Offenders Institute ID card.
Mr Haskell said it was discovered that he had taken the weapon from the workshop of a local builder who he offered to do some unpaid work for.
When the gun was examined it was found to be capable of firing at lethal velocity, but only after a spring had been reattached to the cocking mechanism.
Coupe, of Akers Way, Moredon, pleaded guilty to possessing a firearm with intent to cause fear of violence.
The court heard he had a long list of previous convictions including robbery, GBH, other assaults and drugs matters.
James Bromige, defending, said there is another side to his client who did well at school, getting five GCSEs at grade C.
However he said he had also slipped into a life of crime and drugs which was shown by his record of previous offending.
“The other side of Mr Coupe who, being 19, is bound to bouts of immaturity and, to put it bluntly, gross stupidity,” he said.
“Having sought unpaid work in good faith he has taken the opportunity to take the firearm not knowing what it was and thought he would go and show off to his brother and other young friends and get some street cred.”
On the night of the incident he said he was showing off and never had any intention of harming anyone with the gun. There was no grudge with his brother.
Passing sentence Judge Euan Ambrose said: “It was an extremely frightening episode for everybody present, most especially the boy who was only 13 and of course I bear in mind this was taking place at a youth club.
“On the one hand it was extremely frightening for those who witnessed it. On the other hand from your view there was a significant amount of showing off. There was not any intention to cause any physical harm. There was certainly a recklessness in relation to the fear and psychological harm that you caused. That was the whole point of showing off.”
As well as jailing him he also ordered that the gun be returned to its rightful owner.