A former navy serviceman who threatened a young party peacemaker with two double-barrelled shotguns and discharged one just inches from his face has been jailed for almost four years.
Malcolm Paul Newby, 52, had been a man of exemplary character and pillar of his Eden Valley community before a shocking incident at his home in the village of Maulds Meaburn following a neighbour’s birthday bash he‘d played a pivotal role in organising.
Having got “extremely drunk” and thrown a wooden Jenga block at his wife, Newby was told to leave his neighbour’s home in the early hours of July 12.
Neighbour’s brother Callum Gill tried to defuse the situation, following Newby to his house, shaking hands and asking him to call it a night.
But as he then gave Newby’s distressed daughter a comforting hug in a porch, Mr Gill saw Newby had returned with two legally-held double-barrelled shotguns, and was holding one up against his neck and training the other towards his body with fingers on both triggers.
Mr Gill grabbed the end of both barrels and asked Newby to put the guns down but, as a struggle ensued, the jujitsu-trained 20-year-old lost control of one weapon as he tried to put Newby in a choke hold.
“The gun was pointing up past the right hand side of my face and then I heard a bang,” Mr Gill later stated.
That gun was discharged into the ceiling.
Although Mr Gill didn’t want the police involved, officers were called after Newby tried to return next door.
Newby, of Low Lankaber, Maulds Meaburn, was arrested and later admitted two charges of possessing a firearm with intent to cause fear of violence.
Newby was sentenced at Carlisle Crown Court on Friday when Kim Whittlestone, defending, presented 19 character references, spoke of his loyal service to the navy and local community, and described the huge stress he had been under while working at Center Parcs, reintroducing staff after the Covid-19 lockdown.
“Things appear to have gone awry on that particular day and he reacted in an unreasonable and irrational way,” said Miss Whittlestone.
“He is extremely remorseful and wishes to apologise to Mr Gill for his behaviour.”
Jailing Newby for 45 months, Judge David Potter acknowledged the incident was out of character but concluded: “It is through sheer good luck that the gun was discharged into the ceiling.
“Had it been pointed at Mr Gill, to his neck or to his body, you could – in your drunken state – have so easily pulled the trigger and killed him, or at the very least seriously injured him.”