Gun taunt woman told: you face jail

Kelsey Donkin, 22, from Sunderland.
Kelsey Donkin, 22, from Sunderland.
Have your say

SHAMED Kelsey Donkin who shouted “bang, bang” at blinded Pc David Rathband while making a gun gesture has been warned she faces jail.

Donkin, 22, of Goschen Street, Southwick, admitted a charge of disorderly conduct over the incident, which happened during the trial of Raoul Moat’s accomplices Karl Ness and Qhuram Awan.

She appeared at Newcastle Magistrates’ Court yesterday where she entered a guilty plea.

Brian O’Dwyer, chairman of the bench, warned Donkin that they were looking at sentencing her to 12 weeks in custody. She will be sentenced at a later date.

Donkin admitted a public order offence of using words or behaviour to cause harassment, alarm or distress with intent to cause Pc David Rathband harassment, alarm or distress.

Pc Rathband, 43, who was shot and blinded by Moat, was on his way into Newcastle Crown Court in March when Donkin made a shooting gesture at him and was spotted by those accompanying him.

Robin Palmer, his public relations officer who was with him at the time, said in his statement to police: “David said to me ‘did they say what I think they said?’

“I turned around and I saw the female quite clearly making the gesture of holding a gun in her hands.”

Donkin was arrested as she sat outside a court on the fourth floor of the building waiting for a different case.

Pc Rathband said he had been left “deeply hurt and upset” by the incident.

Prosecuting, Paul Clarke, read his victim impact statement to the court, which said: “I feel sick at the thought of someone saying ‘bang bang’ behind my back.

“This is the first time I have encountered any maliciousness or animosity towards me.

“She said she wasn’t aiming at myself but I think she was. I feel hurt and upset.

“This has caused me great distress. I was deeply hurt.”

Paul Clarke told the court how Donkin turned to her friends and laughed after making the gesture.

He said: “She turned to the group, the friends of the female, and they were giggling.”

Donkin initially denied the public order offence, telling police officers that she had been trying to “get the attention of a friend” and that the gesture was not aimed at Pc Rathband.

When asked whether he thought Donkin deserved to go to jail, Pc Rathband said “yes, I do”.

He said: “I hope that she’ll realise one day that her little joke not only had a devastating effect on me but my wife and children too.”

Judith Curry, defending, said Donkin had become a “figure of hate” to people.

She said: “She said she wanted to give a letter to Pc David Rathband which she wrote after being arrested, so he can understand how deeply sorry she is.”