Antoni Howe, pictured, hit his pregnant girlfriend and later pointed an realistic-looking airsoft machine gun at unarmed police officers at his home in Grimsby
A man who had downed a bottle of Jack Daniels and slapped his pregnant girlfriend was Tasered by police after he pointed a fake machine gun at them.
It emerged in court that Antoni Howe was ‘extremely fortunate’ that armed officers were busy elsewhere, otherwise he would have been shot.
The first officers to respond to the incident were unarmed. They arrested Howe after blasting him with a Taser. Armed officers said if they had attended the scene and were confronted in such a way they would have shot him.
Howe, 37, from Grimsby, admitted possessing an imitation assault rifle with intent to cause fear of violence on November 29.
The frightening incident was captured on nearby CCTV.
Paul Genney, prosecuting, told Grimsby Crown Court that police were alerted by Howe’s sister that he was threatening to shoot his pregnant girlfriend.
No armed response unit was available so two police officers with Tasers went to the house in Grimsby.
Howe opened the door carrying an imitation assault rifle.
‘It fires imitation pellets, quite large but non-penetrative,’ said Mr Genney.
‘They are plastic-type and unable to inflict any sort of serious injury. It’s extremely realistic.
‘It’s extremely heavy. The defendant is extremely fortunate that the armed response unit wasn’t immediately available or they would have shot him.
‘He pointed the weapon out of the door at the police.
‘They tried to use their Taser but they were unsuccessful as he went back into the house and closed the door.
‘Courageously, the police managed to reopen the door. He didn’t have the chance to lock it or close it.
‘They put their shoulders against the door and went in after him.’
Howe pointed this realistic looking airsoft M-4 Carbine at two police officers in Grimsby
Responding officers blasted Howe with a taser believing his weapon to be a real firearm
Howe was sitting on the stairs holding the fake gun. He was told to drop it but refused and was Tasered by both officers. The weapon was seized.
He later said: ‘I have slapped my missus and I have pointed a machine gun at police.’
He had drunk a bottle of Jack Daniels before arguing with his girlfriend and slapping her but she had already left the house by the time the police arrived.
He was a cannabis user and had previous convictions for possessing offensive weapons in public.
One of the Taser officers later said: ‘I was frightened and scared but still also concerned about anyone else inside the address.
‘The rifle looked to me to be real.’
She felt ‘terror, panic and concern for ourselves and the female inside’.
A firearms officer had said: ‘I would have used my firearm to defend myself or any other person I believed to be in danger.’
Andrew Bailey, mitigating, told the court the weapon was an air soft gun of the type used for military-style games.
‘It looks realistic but it wasn’t fired,’ said Mr Bailey.
‘It wasn’t in a position to be fired because some sort of safety device has to be taken off it.
‘He may have found himself shot. It wasn’t his intention to hurt anyone and he didn’t.
‘He has expressed his shame and remorse. He is glad that this incident didn’t become worse.’
The girlfriend had since given birth to a baby girl. They were still together.
Judge Mark Bury said the police thought that the weapon was real.
‘As far as they were aware, you had a real firearm,’ he said.
‘You were in a state of agitation.
‘They saw you come out of the house, albeit only a short way, pointing what could easily have been an automatic assault rifle.
‘You have scared and put at risk police officers.
‘Pointing a lifelike imitation firearm at a police officer is extremely serious.
‘It does look like a real firearm.’
Howe was jailed for 20 months. The gun will be forfeited and destroyed.