Gunman James Weller walks free after posting on Facebook he wanted police to kill him
Maidstone Crown Court,
where Weller was sentenced
A man who walked free from court after he once sparked a gun
alert at a recreation ground in the hope that he would be shot by
police has been given another chance by the same judge.
James Weller, 24, was sentenced to a two-year suspended jail
term in October 2011 following the incident in Tenterden in January
Judge Philip St.John-Stevens said at the time that Weller's
actions were "a cry for help" and he was solely motivated that day
by wanting "his life to be taken by the police".
Now Weller, of Pittlesden, Tenterden, has again stood in the
dock at Maidstone Crown Court in front of the same judge after
pleading guilty to two charges of common assault.
He was said to have been drinking at the time of the attacks on
But, despite the offences being committed during the suspended
sentence period, Judge St.John-Stevens said he was prepared to
impose a non-custodial punishment as Weller is now receiving
treatment for a previously undiagnosed personality disorder.
The judge said this now gave him, as well as Weller himself, a
better understanding of why he behaved as he did.
"If it was just drunken violence I would not hesitate for one
moment to send you into custody for a considerable period of time
and activate the previous suspended sentence," he explained.
"In my judgement the public need protection from you and it must
be that your personality disorder is treated.
""In my judgement the public need protection from you and it must be that your personality disorder is treated." – Judge Philip St John Stevens
or reading about this case must understand my clear distinction
from a drunken and violent act from an act of a man with a
personality disorder which can now be treated."
Weller, who has a four-year-old daughter, agreed as part of a
community order to undertake a mental health non-residential
treatment programme for a period of 18 months.
He will also be subject to two years' supervision by the
probation service and participate in aggression replacement and
alcohol treatment programmes.
Details of the two common assaults were heard at an earlier
hearing and sentence had been adjourned for psychiatric and
Katherine Higgins, defending, told the court that Weller's past
offending was exacerbated by alcohol and his mental health issues
but that he was now receiving "appropriate" care for his
"You can be assured that he does have the right support and help
that can address the root cause of his offending," she added.
"In contrast, an immediate custodial sentence could put him back
to square one and remove any of the support he has gained over the
past three months and that must be a key concern."
Of the incident in Tenterden almost two years ago, prosecutor
Dominic Connolly said Weller had armed himself with a BB gun after
posting on his Facebook page: "Bye bye everyone. Hope you have a
good life. Just about to be shot by armed police."
He then went to the pavilion at about 4.30pm on January 31 and
phoned the police himself, reporting there was a man with a firearm
at the recreation ground.
A dozen officers were said to have pinned Weller down as he was
arrested in front of students attending a youth club.
"He admitted twice calling the police," explained Mr Connolly,
"and said he knew that if they arrived and he pointed a gun at them
they would shoot him."
Weller later admitted possession of an imitation firearm with
intent to cause fear of violence, affray and possessing
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