Man jailed for pointing gun at Infirmary patients

Date published: 21 October 2008

A man who walked into Rochdale Infirmary and pointed an air rifle at patients and staff has been jailed.

Scott Charlton, 32, of Bellshill Crescent, Belfield, was today (Tuesday 21 October) given an indeterminate sentence for public protection when he appeared before Bolton Crown Court.

In the early hours of New Year's Eve last year, entered the infirmary wearing a mask and aimed what was believed to be an air rifle at patients and staff in the accident and emergency department.

Charlton pointed at several people who were in the reception area, including an elderly woman who was in a wheelchair.

The weapon was not fired and no-one was injured but those inside the waiting area of the hospital were left very distressed.

Police later arrested and charged Charlton.

Before he was sentenced he had pleaded guilty to possession of a firearm with intent to cause fear of violence at an earlier hearing.

Detective Constable Keith Baron, from Rochdale CID, said: "The fact the weapon was not fired is no excuse. Charlton must have known he would have caused the patients and staff of that hospital to fear for their lives and it is only right that he is now in prison.

"The CCTV shows he pointed the gun at an elderly woman in a wheelchair which is a disgusting act. These were patients innocently waiting in the hospital foyer and to be put through that ordeal is unforgivable.

"Emergency services staff put themselves in harms way every day in the course of their duties, but nothing can prepare you for being confronted by a gunman. It was an incredibly frightening experience for everyone concerned.

"We have all seen the devastation guns can cause and the only good thing to come out of this case is that no-one was injured. I hope today's sentence shows people who carry guns that the penalty for doing so is severe."

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