'˜Gang member' jailed for terrorising Doncaster family with imitation gun
A man who terrorised a Doncaster family with an imitation gun for '˜disrespecting' his gang has been jailed for two years.
Sheffield Crown Court was told how on July 21 this year, Gary Walker was seen breaking the law in Woodlands Way, Denaby, along with several other members of the Pitsmoor Shotta Boys (PSB) gang by Doncaster dad, Wayne Harthill.
After witnessing the incident Mr Harthill returned to his home on the same street at around 9pm.
Shortly after returning to the property his wife, Jodie Harthill, was contacted on Facebook by Stephanie Oldfield – who was identified by prosecutor Neil Coxon as being Walker’s former partner and a fellow member of the PSB gang.
Ms Oldfield told Mrs Harthill that members of the PSB would be paying the family a visit at their home later that evening because her husband had ‘disrespected’ their gang.
The court was told how after receiving the message the couple, whose five children aged between two and 14 were all at home at the time of the incident, armed themselves with a rolling pin and a baseball bat.
At around 11pm two cars pulled up outside the house, and a number of PSB members got out of the vehicles armed with weapons including golf clubs, baseball bats and what appeared to be two firearms, one of which was held by Walker, aged 31.
“After seeing what they believed to be two firearms they retreated back into their house,” said Mr Coxon.
He added: “The defendant began pointing the gun at the front door and began shouting threats through the door.”
In a victim impact statement read out in court during yesterday’s hearing, Mrs Harthill said: “They pointed a gun at me and my 14-year-old daughter. The fear we felt was unbelievable.”
After threatening the family Walker, of Abbeyfield Road, Pitsmoor, Sheffield, and the other PSB members got back into their cars and drove off.
The entire incident is believed to have lasted for a few minutes.
Defending Walker, Richard Sheldon said: “This was an over-reaction, a staggering over-reaction but he has done everything he could to accept his culpability.”
Mr Sheldon added that Walker pleaded guilty at the first opportunity which showed a willingness to move away from the usual ‘witness intimidation’ gang strategy of refusing to comment when interviewed by the police, pleading not guilty if charged and seeing which ‘witnesses are able to show up to the trial’.
Walker pleaded guilty to the charge at the first opportunity at hearing earlier this year.
The court heard how following the ‘terrifying’ incident the Harthill family had been too afraid to return to their home and have been made temporarily homeless while they wait for a new house.
Mrs Harthill said: “I hope the criminal justice system does me justice and gives you what you deserve.”
Sentencing Walker to two years in prison, Judge Sarah Wright said: “This was a frightening, terrifying incident which has had a significant impact on this family.
“This crime is so serious that my only option is an immediate custodial sentence.
“I need to send out a clear message that the possession of firearms, imitation or otherwise, will not be tolerated.”