Tuesday, 19 January 2016

Suicide Window Cleaner Sentenced

When the 10-bore shotgun was examined, it was found to be in a "poor condition overall" but capable of discharging cartridges. He purchased the weapon, only to discover that due to its condition, realised he had effectively "bought a dud''.
Man given 3½ year sentence for possession of antique gun: A man bought shotgun to take his life but the weapon did not work, court told. A Co Down man was yesterday given a 3½-year prison sentence after police found an antique shotgun and ammunition in his van.

Christopher John Digney, from Struell Heights in Downpatrick, bought the shotgun for £600 in a bid to take his own life but the weapon was in such poor condition that it did not work, Downpatrick Crown Court heard. Judge Brian Sherrard told Digney he was dividing his sentence between 11 months in custody and 25 months on licence. However, as Digney (34) had spent 337 days on remand, he yesterday walked free from court because of his time served in custody.

Crown prosecutor Laura Ivers said the shotgun was discovered in the back of a van inside a locked attaché case at Digney’s then address in Strangford, Co Down, on October 28th, 2014, two days after he purchased the weapon. Also recovered from the van were shotgun cartridges, an imitation weapon and a black balaclava.

Ms Ivers said the Crown could not gainsay Digney’s intent, adding there was no evidence to suggest the items were used for criminal offences. Defence barrister Eugene Grant QC said the incident occurred at a time when Digney, a self-employed window cleaner, was going through difficulties in his personal life, including the demise of a long-term relationship with the mother of his children, which resulted in depression and suicidal thoughts.

Mr Grant also spoke of the effect the death of a child Digney had when he was 17 had on him throughout his adult life. The barrister told the court his client’s intention of possessing the shotgun was to take his life. He bought the weapon, only to discover that he could not fire it. Mr Grant also told the court there was “no sinister purpose” for the balaclava, as it was part of the protective clothing Digney wore for industrial cleaning work. Judge Sherrard said he accepted Digney was suffering from a “number of stressors” .

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