A MAN who let off a stun gun, after he was wrongly accused of attacking the home of a heart transplant patient, has been jailed.
Mark Heslop, of Washington, caused terror when he discharged the weapon, which was disguised as a mobile phone.
Newcastle Crown Court heard the 23-year-old had been mistakenly blamed for an attack with a metal bar on a Washington house where a heart patient lived with her partner and two-year-old child.
In response he took the illegal weapon, passed to him by a pal, and pressed the trigger as he approached the house.
When the door was slammed shut by the terrified family, he started to kick it.
Judge Brian Forster QC jailed Heslop, of Oxford Avenue, Donwell, for three and a half years.
Heslop, who pleaded guilty to possessing a disguised firearm, had faced a mandatory minimum of five years behind bars but the judge said the short period of time he had hold of the weapon made the circumstances “exceptional” and allowed the jail term to be reduced.
Judge Forster told him: “What took place has had a considerable impact upon those who live in the house. You were aggrieved by the false allegation having been made against you.
“I have carefully considered the victim impact statements and it is clear from those statements those within the house were terrified.
“It is understandable that people who have had such an experience no longer feel safe in their own home.
“The effect of what you did was to cause terror within the house.”
The court heard the householder had armed himself with a knife when his home came under attack and his window was smashed.
During an angry confrontation the man blamed Heslop.
Glen Gatland, defending, said Heslop had never been in trouble before and was a hard-working family man. He added he did not actually touch the person with the stun gun.