Sheffield shotgun yobs are locked up

editorial image

THESE balaclava-clad thugs have been sent to jail after posing with a sawn-off shotgun for terrorist-style pictures.

The trio wore masks and gloves to pose for photos taken on the mobile phone of Damien Williams - who was minding the illegal firearm for a criminal.

Jailing them, Judge Simon Lawler QC said: “It is the sort of thing the public sees on television, usually associated with terrorist organisations.

“It is offensive to ordinary people and it is a stupid thing to do.”

Williams, aged 22, plus Harry Marritt, 21, and Joseph Carnell, 18, were arrested after police stumbled across the photos on Williams’ BlackBerry while visiting his home to investigate the suspected handling of stolen goods.

Carl Fitch, prosecuting, told Sheffield Crown Court the weapon and ammunition were found in Williams’ bedroom.

Williams said he had been asked to look after the 12-bore Winchester shotgun, but claimed it was never loaded and it never left the house.

Marritt and Carnell said they posed with the firearm for a just a few seconds.

They all declined to comment in police interviews.

Under tough gun laws the men could have been jailed for a minimum of five years for possessing an illegal firearm.

But their sentences were reduced because the gun had not been shortened enough to meet the legislation.

Williams, of Oxspring Bank in Wadsley Bridge, Marritt, of Burns Hall Crescent in Ecclesfield, and Carnell, of Maltravers Terrace, Wybourn, admitted possessing the firearm.

James Gould, defending Williams, said he had been exploited by others who asked him to store the gun and he was ‘impressionable and completely unsophisticated’.

He added the firearms offence was ‘way out of his league as regards criminal offending’.

Katy Rafter said Marritt did not plan to use the gun and had no idea there was ammunition in the house.

“He had it in his possession for no longer than 10 seconds,” she said.

Jim Baird, defending Carnell, said: “He accepts full responsibility for posing for the photo, but it was out of immaturity rather than any sinister design.

“He later admitted it was the daftest thing in the world to do.”

Judge Lawler said Williams, who also admitted handling stolen goods, bore the greatest responsibility because he was the custodian of the gun. He was jailed for 18 months.

The judge told him: “It was a fearsome-looking weapon and you know perfectly well it was a professional criminal gun in working order.”

Marritt, a scaffolder, admitted burglary, assault, dangerous driving and breaching a three-year ASBO, and was locked up for 30 months.

Carnell was sent to a young offenders’ institution for six months.

After the hearing, Mr Fitch said: “The defendants claimed these photographs were taken for a bit of fun, but portraying firearms or those in possession of them in a glamorous way is a direct threat to society.

“We’re pleased the court agreed and that those responsible have been sentenced for their criminal actions.”