Sheffield man jailed after turning 'ceramic bong' shaped like firearm on paramedics
A 23-year-old Sheffield man has been jailed for turning an imitation firearm on two paramedics sent out to help him after he threatened to take his own life.
Sheffield Crown Court was told how on February 11 last year Linton Andrews, of Brienberg Court, Pitsmoor Road, Pitsmoor called 999 and told an operator that he was about to kill himself and needed help.
A few minutes later a female and male paramedic arrived in an ambulance and began to park the vehicle in the courtyard that could be seen from Andrews' first floor flat.
The court was told how shortly after arriving on the scene, the female paramedic spotted Andrews, who was then aged 22, walking down the stairs carrying something under his arm.
Prosecutor Allan Armberister said: "She shouted to the other paramedic 'lock your door he's carrying a gun'.
"He pointed what appeared to be a pistol at the two paramedics, who were in genuine fear for their lives."
After pointing the imitation firearm at the pair, Andrews began banging on the side of the ambulance.
Mr Armberister said the ordeal left the female paramedic 'overwhelmed with panic' and when she attempted to reverse the vehicle in a bid to escape Andrews, she crashed the ambulance into a brick wall. Following the collision the male paramedic took over driving the vehicle, and they were able to flee the scene.
South Yorkshire Police were informed of the incident a short time later, and officers went to Andrews' flat to arrest him and search his property.
On searching the premises officers were able to locate the imitation firearm, which on closer inspection was found to be a 'bong' Andrews had been using to smoke cannabis.
After examining pictures of the item, Recorder F.Davies concluded that the ceramic bong looked 'almost identical' to a firearm.
When the incident took place Andrews was on bail for one charge of actual bodily harm, related to an attack carried out near to Howden House in Sheffield City Centre on September 2, 2015.
The court was told how the attack was carried out against a 43-year-old man after he walked past Andrews, who was standing near to Howden House.
Andrews tripped the man, now aged 44, and began kicking him in the chest. Mr Armberister told the court that the next thing the victim remembered about the attack was waking up in an ambulance.
He initially denied medical assistance due to wanting to get home, but after a visit from the police a short time later he was admitted to hospital where he was found to have a fractured rib.
When interviewed about the incident by police, Andrews said: "The reaction he got is because he poked his crutch at my bag."
During Thursday's sentencing, defence barrister Rebecca Turner explained how Andrews was extremely mentally unwell when he carried out both incidents.
Ms Turner told the court that Andrews had been sectioned under the mental health act prior to the incident in February taking place, and had been released from a mental health facility just a few days before.
She said: "The court must regard how unwell he was, which does significantly reduce his culpability.
"He is now stable, as far as his mental health is concerned. He is now fit and healthy and looking forward to the future."
Andrews pleaded guilty to ABH and imitation firearm offence at an earlier hearing. Recorder F.Davies sentenced him to a total of two years, after taking into consideration an early plea and his mitigating circumstances.
As Andrews was remanded into custody last February, he has already served most of his jail-term and is likely to be released shortly.