4 December 2012, 14:29
A 16 year old boy who fired a gun four times at police in an attempt to getaway because he did not want to go back to prison was locked up indefinitely today.
David Barnett aimed the modified starter pistol at two constables, who did not know that the gun was an imitation, as they confronted him in the early hours of the morning.
Barnett - who can be named after a judge at Luton crown court lifted a ban on his identity - was wanted by the police for breaking licence conditions after he had been released early from a three year sentence for a stabbing.
He was spotted by PC Richard Carton and PC Stephen Ralston in London Road, Bedford at 2.25 in the morning of 8th August this year.
Prosecutor Claudette Elliott said the two officers tried to stop Barnett, who had just parted from two females, when he produced .38 modified Olympic revolver and pointed it at the neck of PC Carton.
He then lifted the gun and pointed it at the officer's head. At that point PC Ralston heard the click of a hammer strike coming from the gun.
The officers, who were with DS William Startin and did not know the gun was an imitation, shouted: "Drop it now" and called for firearms back up.
They chased after Barnett who turned around an pointed the gun again at the officers, moving it from side to side. He pulled the trigger three more times as they shouted: "Armed police - drop it now."
Ms Elliott said Barnett, who was in a highly emotional state saying he did not want to return to prison, ran into an alleyway in Victoria Road saying: "Shoot me."
Armed police arrived and one officer fired a baton round which struck his thigh. Barnett managed to run off into the alley and was only stopped when PC Chris Conneely deployed his dog Paulo who bit him, forcing him to drop the gun. He was arrested and said:"I am not going back to prison."
Five days earlier the Ministry of Justice had ordered his return to custody because he had not complied with the terms of his licence. Barnett had been working full time in the town's Body Shop when he should have been attending probation courses. He had sent the office a fake doctor's note.
Barnett, now 17, of Ossory Way, Bedford pleaded guilty to making use of an imitation firearm to avoid arrest. He had been released from prison in May this year after serving half of a 3 year sentence for stabbing a youth in the back in Midland Road, Bedford when trouble had broken out between two gangs.
In a statement PC Carton said: "I feel shocked that a 16 year old child could have pointed a gun at police officers."
Defence barrister Nicholas Doran said Barnett said he had been put under peer pressure and had been given the gun earlier in the day and had been asked to hold it. "At no stage was it held with intent to resist arrest," he said. He was remorseful, said Mr Doran.
Passing an indefinite sentence for public protection, Judge Philip Bartle QC said: "The circumstances are very serious indeed. You were given a gun by a member of a gang. The fact you used it indicates how dangerous you are."
The judge praised the "astonishing bravery" of officers involved. He said: "They did not know the nature of the gun that David Barnett was holding. They were facing what could have been a real gun that could have killed them. The bravery they displayed was quite remarkable."
Barnett must service a minimum of 2 and a quarter years before the Parole Board can consider him for release.