A KILLER who sparked a manhunt after threatening a stranger with a gun has been jailed for 21 months.
Shaun Gibbon pulled a blank firing handgun from his waistband during a terrifying attack on Darren Pavey over a damaged car wing mirror.
Police launched an appeal to trace the 43-year-old, who used a curtain cord to kill his girlfriend in 1991, after the incident last October.
He was arrested in December and tried at Newcastle Crown Court last month for possession of an imitation firearm with intent to cause fear of violence and assault by beating.
Gibbon, of Brinkburn Crescent, Houghton, denied both charges but was found guilty by a jury.
He was cleared of a charge of assault causing bodily harm in relation to a second alleged victim, who he was accused of biting, during the same incident.
Mr Recorder Davey told Gibbon: “The courts are always anxious to make it plain that there will be no tolerance at all of the carrying of prohibited firearms, whether real or imitation, in public.”
The judge said he accepted Gibbon was carrying the weapon that day because he planned to sell it and it was not for “sinister” purposes.
But he added: “The fact is at the time Mr Pavey feared he was going to be shot.
“He himself was frightened and his family, who were nearby, were terrified by what they witnessed.
“The effects of that linger on today.”
It was on March 15, 1991, that Marie Cutcliffe was found dead at the home she shared with Gibbon in Shiney Row.
Gibbon was cleared of her murder but he was convicted of her manslaughter on the grounds of provocation and sentenced to five years in jail.
He served just two years.
Gibbon was back in jail for 18 months in 2006 after waging a campaign of terror against his wife Andrea, who he had met after his release from the manslaughter sentence.
On October 30 last year, Darren Pavey was being driven home through Houghton from a family christening when Gibbon drove past and clipped the wing mirror of the vehicle he was in.
When Mr Pavey challenged Gibbon about the damage it led to a terrifying confrontation and the production of the handgun.
Prosecutor Bridie Smurthwaite told the court: “The defendant tried to punch Mr Pavey in the face but he managed to duck and avoid the punch but then the defendant pulled out a handgun from his waistband.
“Instinctively Mr Pavey was able to knock the defendant’s right arm, causing the gun to fall to the ground.
“The defendant picked up the gun and again Mr Pavey grabbed the defendant’s wrist in an attempt to prevent the gun being aimed at him.”
The court heard Mr Pavey bravely managed to push his attacker to the ground which resulted in the gun falling from his grasp.
Lee Fish, defending, told the court: “Mr Gibbon is not all that people think he is. He has capacity to demonstrate kindness, compassion and caring towards his partners.
“Mr Gibbon is well aware of his past.
“He is well aware of the mistakes he has made in the past.”