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Home Kent News Article
by Paul Hooper
Former soldier Barry Thorne is under house arrest - after going on the warpath with a Second World War-style rifle and bayonet.
In a scene reminiscent of a Dad's Army sketch, the former Royal Scots Dragoon soldier armed himself to settle a row over a parking space near his home in St Peter's Road, Margate.
The 69-year-old told motorist John Donald to wait while he went inside... and then returned with the rifle and bayonet.
But Canterbury Crown Court heard the farce between two "rogue bulls" had a more serious side.
Because when police were alerted, armed officers arrived and an innocent passer-by carrying drum sticks became confused and was almost tasered.
Judge Adele Williams told the former squaddie he had behaved irresponsibly – and ordered him to remain under partial house arrest between 7pm and 7am for the next four months.
"you behaved totally irresponsibly and with arrogance and caused an armed police response, quite apart from causing terror to your victim and his family..." – judge adele williams
Thorne, who admitted possessing an imitation firearm with intent to cause fear, was also given an eight-month jail sentence, suspended for two years.
Denzil Pugh, prosecuting, told how Mr Donald had set off from his Margate home for a family get-together.
As he neared St Peter's Road, he realised his car boot wasn't shut - so stopped the car.
Thorne objected because his access was blocked and ordered Mr Donald to move.
"It was like two rogue bulls facing each other," said Mr Pugh. "Thorne was agitated demanding Mr Donald's car be moved immediately.
"As tempers got more and more frayed, Mr Donald gave as good as he got in terms of insults, threats and unpleasant language,"
Thorne then told his rival to "wait there, if you've got the guts, I've got something inside which will sort you out".
He then returned with the rifle, which the prosecutor said looked "very much like a Second World War bolt action weapon", although it could not be fired because the bolt was a fake.
"With this weapon, Thorne was pointing at Mr Donald saying he was going to shoot him and run him through," said Mr Pugh.
Mr Donald's wife and children were in the car and terrified by the incident, which was later reported to police.
Officers armed with guns and tasers arrived and "things could have gone disastrously wrong," the prosecutor added.
"An individual was wandering down the road with his drum kit. He was challenged by police and was at the point of being shot or tasered – because he wasn't understanding what was going on."
Thorne claimed he got the weapon "in a state of blind panic" during the confrontation with the motorist.
Philip Rowley, defending, said Thorne had spent six years in the Army before becoming a long-distance lorry driver.
Judge Williams told him: "You had no business to be in possession of this gun.
"You behaved totally irresponsibly and with arrogance and caused an armed police response, quite apart from causing terror to your victim and his family."
Thorne was told to stay away from Mr Donald – or risk breaching a restraining order.
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