A man who sparked a police response to what was reported as a firearm incident in Sompting has been sentenced to two years in prison, according to police.
A police spokesman said Ryan Kelly, 23, of Busticle Lane in Sompting had pleaded guilty to possessing a firearm with intent to cause distress, possession of a prohibited firearm and affray at a previous hearing, before being sentenced at Lewes Crown Court on Wednesday, August 8.
The sentencing followed a call received from Kelly at 7.30pm on Thursday, February 8, said police, claiming to be in possession of a Taser and a gun demanding armed police come and shoot him dead or he would go outside and ‘go crazy’.
Police said their call takers and local officers kept Kelly talking on the phone for 56 minutes in an attempt to calm him down, while other officers secured the area.
When officers approached Kelly he was holding what was feared to be a handgun, according to the spokesman.
It turned out to be a BB gun but due to the lighting, distance and exceptional realism, police said it was indistinguishable from a real pistol and, after attempting to engage with Kelly, unarmed officers withdrew to cover when he became agitated.
Officers from the Tactical Firearms Unit moved to within lethal range of Kelly’s ‘handgun’ had it been real, said police, and after trying unsuccessfully to talk him into surrendering they fired a rubber bullet that knocked the gun from his hand. They then ran at him and took him to the floor, where they found an electronic stun gun in his trousers.
Police said that in phone calls from Kelly, he had said he wanted to be ‘martyred’ and had mentioned the Independent Office for Police Conduct Investigations.
When arrested, Kelly was wearing latex gloves to prevent his fingerprints transferring to the imitation firearm, according to police.
Police said a search of Kelly’s address after the arrest found drugs, police-style equipment, a further imitation firearm and other weapons including an axe with a bayonet fitting and one with abuse about the police written on the handle in large letters.
They said when Kelly was taken into custody he said he had no injuries and was assessed by specialist medical and mental health advisors.
He would not give any account for his actions, police said.
Detective constable Noel Simmonds said: “It is clear that Kelly has real problems to work through and I hope the sentence handed to him will give him the time and opportunity to do that in an environment that will keep him, the public, and my colleagues safe in the future.”
District commander, chief inspector Miles Ockwell, said: “From start to finish our officers showed typical calm professionalism and compassion, particularly the armed and unarmed uniform officers who from their perspective were putting their own lives at extreme risk to keep him and the public safe.”