Man sparked armed siege with bag of guns at mother’s house

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A man who sparked a siege when he turned up at his mum’s home with a bag containing two guns has been jailed for five years.

Armed officers spent more than four hours in a tense stand-off with 31-year-old Stuart McDonald before he finally surrendered himself.

Newcastle Crown Court heard McDonald, of Ethel Terrace, Castletown, had arrived at his mother’s home by taxi in the early hours of March 30.

The convicted robber, who was on licence from a previous prison sentence, had a bag with him which contained a double barrel shotgun, a single barrel rifle and some cartridges.

Prosecutor Gavin Doig told the court: “The defendant’s mother and her partner were unsure as to what to do.”

The court heard McDonald’s mental state had deteriorated in the days leading up to the incident and he had gone to the house after saying he needed “his mother’s help”.

Nobody was hurt in the stand off, which saw negotiators eventually convince McDonald to leave the house, in Gosforth, Newcastle, where he was arrested.

McDonald told detectives he had been looking after the guns on behalf of others.

Judge Brian Forster QC jailed McDonald, who pleaded guilty to possessing firearms, possessing firearms while prohibited and possessing ammunition, for five years.

The judge said he accepted McDonald was in mental turmoil when he committed the offence, but added: “Nonetheless, you in many ways were the last person in the world who should be trusted with any form of weapon.

“The danger of weapons being in public circulation was increased in this case, not deliberately by you, but by virtue of the very fact you are a vulnerable person with mental health difficulties.

“You have to be punished for what you did and I have to make it clear to all that no one can expect to look after weapons and escape severe punishment.”

John Wilkinson, defending, said McDonald had stopped taking his antidepressant medication at the time of the incident.

Mr Wilkinson said: “Clearly he is a vulnerable person.

“The people who dumped these weapons on him took the fullest advantage of that fact.

“The weapons were never used, he was simply doing what he had been told to do and look after them.”

Twitter: @SunderlandEcho