A gun-wielding teenager who subjected a couple and their friends to a terrifying 20-minute ordeal in a “thirst for revenge” has been jailed for nine years.
Duane Mason, 18, burst into a flat in Preston pointing the imitation weapon, along with another man wielding a dog chain. The woman, who was visiting her boyfriend at the flat in Yew Trees Avenue, Ribbleton, was so frightened that she jumped out of a bathroom window to escape.
She later told police the only reason she could think of for Mason’s actions was that he and another man had been asked to leave a party at her house the previous week.
Prosecuting, Richard Haworth told Preston Crown Court the woman had returned from a night out in Liverpool for her birthday and taken a taxi to her partner’s flat, arriving at around 5am, on January 20.
Her partner was still up with friends and the group was sitting in the living room when she said she heard someone in the back garden.
The men in the flat went to the front of the property but when one of them shouted, “He’s got a gun” they ran back inside in a panic.
Seconds later the living room door burst open.
The woman sought refuge in a bedroom, but she heard a window smash and saw two barrels of a gun appear through the curtains.
The woman ran into the hallway where she called 999 on her mobile phone.
She could hear the kitchen being damaged and went into the bathroom where a group of people had gathered. They could hear banging and holes were being made in the door.
Mr Haworth said: “In due course the end of the gun came through one of the holes in the door.
“It was then the woman saw the defendant standing in the hallway pointing the gun - the imitation firearm - although she did not know it was an imitation.
“Behind him was another male. That male was carrying a dog chain.
“They both hit out at the lads that were present”
The woman escaped through the bathroom window.
Three men were treated for injuries inflicted by the gun and dog chain, with one suffering wounds to his left eyebrow, back of his head, and back of his neck, and another suffering head injuries. An imitation shotgun was recovered from a nearby garden.
Mason, of Ambleside Road, Ribbleton, pleaded guilty to aggravated burglary and possession of an imitation firearm.
Mason, who has previous convictions for affray and a street robbery, told the police he had been invited into the flat but there had been “a bit of a disagreement” and he had been shot in the face.
Defending, Tom Lord, said: “The day after his 18th he was arrested and he knows he will spend his 21st birthday in custody.
“None of these milestones are impressive, or milestones a young man of 18 should be experiencing.
“He is a young man with a significant problem in that he does not understand consequences and he has acted almost with an element of impunity.”
Sentencing, Judge Michael Byrne said: “Gratuitous violence, and consumption of drugs and alcohol, combined with the threat of violence with a firearm - in which an imitation firearm has just the same effect - is conduct which is regarded very seriously by the courts.
“The terror and fear felt by innocent bystanders is difficult to imagine.
“Our communities will tolerate the conduct of those, no matter how young they may be, of people who take the law into their own hands.
“Our communities look to the courts for protection.”