Armed man confronted neighbour whom he believed was flytipping
By Court reporter | 22nd February 2023
A Lithuanian man fired an imitation pistol while confronting a neighbour whom he believed was fly-tipping in his home area near Gloucester, a jury was told today.
Armed police were deployed to the incident just outside the city centre after Ramunas Mackevicius, 45, had brandished a golf club as a weapon before fetching the pistol from his caravan and discharging it, Gloucester Crown Court heard.
Mr Mackevicius, of Court Farm Close, Tewkesbury, who was at that time living on land at Severnside Farm, Walham, near Gloucester, denies charges of having an imitation pistol with intent to make James Watts believe unlawful violence would be used against him and criminally damaging Mr Watts' van by breaking a window.
Prosecutor James Haskell said the incident happened on January 22, 2021, and some of it was recorded by Mr Mackevicius' wife on her mobile phone.
Her video of the confrontation was played to the jury at the start of the prosecution case.
Mr Haskell said there was a background of 'some tension' between the Mackivicius family and Mr Watts.
"Rightly or wrongly it seems that the defendant and his wife were convinced that Mr Watts was fly tipping in the area," he said. "But this trial is not about whether Mr Watts was or was not fly tipping.
"There is no dispute, however, that whatever happened that night it caused Mr and Mrs Mackevicius to go and confront Mr Watts.
"It appears that right from the outset Mr Mackevicius had armed himself with a golf club.
"Mr Watts says the defendant swung at him with the club but fortunately missed. It seems that sparked a scuffle in which Mr Watts snatched the defendant's wife's phone from her.
"Mr Watts then ran off. He says he was pursued by the defendant and his wife, and he saw Mr Mackivicius using the golf club to deliberately smash one of the windows of his van.
"The defendant then escalated the situation still further. He returned to his static caravan and obtained a pistol.
"There is no dispute that it was not a real gun. But we say that Mr Watts wouldn't have known that at the time. The pistol, which was later seized by the police, looks like a real handgun.
"We say it was wholly disproportionate for this defendant to go and fetch an item with the appearance of a real gun and then brandish and discharge it.
"It was a calculated decision by him that was designed to cause Mr Watts to fear unlawful violence would be used against him.
"There is no suggestion that he aimed the weapon directly at Mr Watts.
"In fact it was blanks that were being discharged but Mr Watts is not a firearms expert and that is not something he would have known. "
Mr Haskell said an armed police unit attended the scene and both men were arrested, and a search of Mr Mackivicius' caravan revealed the pistol.
"The Gloucestershire Constabulary armourer found that although it was not a real gun it was fully functional with live blank ammunition. It was legal to possess without a licence, but it had been made to look like an authentic self-loading pistol. "
Interviewed by police, Mr Mackivicius alleged that Mr Watts had been aggressive and kicked him early on in the confrontation. He said he had damaged Mr Watts' van window accidentally when he tripped while holding the golf club.
"He admitted returning home and retrieving what he described as a toy gun which he said he had purchased to scare people off his land. He said the reason he discharged the weapon was to Mr Woods from assaulting his wife."
The trial is continuing.
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