A BRIGHOUSE man is behind bars for his part in a terrifying gun crime.
Paul Murphy, 35, has become the third person to be jailed after an innocent family were subjected to a terrifying gun ordeal outside a West Yorkshire pub.
Motorist Paul Kirby was driving his wife and two children along Lower Edge Road in Elland during the early evening last September when they were caught up in a disturbance between rival groups outside the Royal Oak pub.
Mr Kirby drove into a cul-de-sac after a hail of bottles were thrown at three men who were parked outside the pub in a Land Rover Discovery.
He contacted the police when he saw one of the men from the car walking around with a sawn-off double-barreled shotgun. The gunman came towards his vehicle and pointed the weapon at the family.
Bradford Crown Court heard yesterday how Mr Kirkby’s family feared they were going to be shot.
The gunman and the other men left the scene in the Land Rover and they were arrested later by armed police after the vehicle was found near the Black Swan pub in Briggate, Brighouse.
Inside the car, officers found the loaded shotgun, a meat cleaver and a machete.
In January Shaun Harper, 35, of Whinney Hill Park, Brighouse, and 35-year-old John Kerry, of Rosemary Close, Rastrick, were jailed for seven years each after they admitted possessing a prohibited weapon and possessing a firearm with intent to cause fear of violence.
Harper also pleaded guilty to possessing the meat cleaver.
Murphy, of Bridge End, Brighouse, was jailed for six years and nine months after he admitted the same firearm offences.
The court heard in January that the men had acquired the shotgun with the intention of frightening members of a rival group and both Harper and Kerry denied that they had been the person who pointed the weapon at the Kirby family.
When he jailed Harper and Kerry, Judge Jonathan Durham Hall said there was clearly “a continuing and serious dispute” between the two groups and he accepted that the men had been subjected to a hail of missiles outside the pub.
The judge said the Kirby family were completely blameless and added: “Mr Kirby deserves, and will receive from me, the highest praise not only for his coolness in trying to protect his family, but also in giving a running commentary to the police.”
Although Murphy’s fingerprint was found on the Czech-made shotgun his barrister Stephen Wood said he maintained that he was not the gunman who brandished the weapon at the family.
The court heard that drug-user Murphy was probably suffering from a mental disorder at the time of the incident last year.
Judge Durham Hall told Murphy that the offences were a grave and terrifying breach of the law and he noted that the gun had been discharged during the incident.
“Of equal or greater significance a family, the Kirby family, who happened to be driving through the area were caught up in this terrifying ordeal and one of you three threatened, pointed and appeared to aim the shotgun at them having, as it appeared to that family, followed them down a nearby street,” said the judge.
Murphy has been in custody since the incident last year and Judge Durham Hall reduced his prison term by three months because he was unable to sentence him at the same time as his co-accused in January.