Man jailed for possessing firearm found under cushion while police investigate arson allegations - The Solihull Observer

Man jailed for possessing firearm found under cushion while police investigate arson allegations

A CHELMSLEY Wood man has been jailed after police found a fully loaded revolver under a cushion in the living room – while carrying out an investigation into an allegation of arson.

And in the bedroom of Thomas Morris’s Chelmsley Wood flat they found a further 12 live rounds for the illegal weapon, a judge at Coventry Crown Court heard.

The 20-year-old of Willow Way was jailed for five years – the minimum term that can be imposed for possessing a prohibited firearm, to which he had pleaded guilty.

He was also given two concurrent 40-month sentences for two charges of possessing ammunition without a certificate, which he had also admitted, which will be served at the same time as the above jail sentence.

Prosecutor Paul Dhami said that on February 13 police officers went to Morris’s home as part of an investigation involving him and his partner Chanelle Thompson.

That was in relation to an allegation of arson, although no charges arose out of that against either of them.

But the officers carried out a search of the flat, and under a cushion on the sofa they found the .22 Colt revolver which was loaded with six live rimfire bullets.

And from a bedside table they recovered a further 12 live .22 rounds.

Both Morris and 20-year-old Miss Thompson were arrested and charged – but the prosecution decided to offer no evidence against Thompson after Morris had entered his guilty pleas.

Mr Dhami pointed out that when he was interviewed, Morris denied any knowledge of the gun, claiming he had never seen it before and had not touched it.

Morris, whose most serious previous conviction was for an assault, was specifically asked whether he had been asked to act as a custodian to hold the gun for someone else, which he denied.

David Murray, defending, said: “He understands it has to be that minimum sentence of five years.”

“He is a naïve young man who didn’t really know which way to turn. He says he was holding it for someone because of threats to members of his family if he didn’t.”

Judge Philip Gregory said: “I have to decide if five years is adequate, because this is a deeply concerning case. The possession of the weapon at a time when it’s fully loaded is about as bad as it can get.

“It was hidden under a cushion on the sofa, ready to be retrieved at a moment’s notice. This is a firearm which can only have a criminal purpose.”

“You have pleaded guilty to an extremely serious offence.

“You were found in possession of a .22 calibre revolver, and in addition you had 12 live rounds, and that revolver was loaded with six live rounds.

“If you didn’t have possession of that revolver for your own purposes, but for someone else, it shows you were associating with serious criminals at that time and were prepared to assist them by holding this firearm, which can only have had a serious criminal purpose.”

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