Todmorden gunman jailed after police attend road accident

David Thomas for Todmorden court case
David Thomas for Todmorden court case

A judge has jailed a Todmorden man for five years after police officers attending the scene of a road accident found a loaded handgun in his 4x4 vehicle.

David Thomas, 55, who had his right leg amputated due to his drug abuse, admitted possessing the prohibited weapon, a Beretta semi-automatic pistol, as well as eight rounds of ammunition when he appeared before Bradford Crown Court on Friday.

Prosecutor Nikki Peers told the court that police officers went to the Woodhouse Road area of Todmorden on June 8 last year after Thomas’ Mitsubishi vehicle collided with a wall and rolled onto its roof. As the officers retrieved Thomas’ personal possessions from the vehicle they found the loaded handgun in a holster under the driver’s seat.

Miss Peers said the handgun was “loaded and ready to fire” with live ammunition in the chamber and the magazine clip.

Giving evidence to the court Thomas said he became estranged from his family due to his criminal activities and his leg was amputated in 1992 due to his drug misuse.

After travelling to Spain he received help from a Christian rehabilitation unit and returned to the UK in about 2005 to work for their organisation in this country. But Thomas said his father and sister both died in 2012 and he began to misuse drugs again.

Judge Thomas said Thomas had an interest in firearms and he referred to a psychologist’s report which suggested the defendant was something of an attention seeker and a thrill seeker.

He concluded there was nothing exceptional about the circumstances of the case or Thomas himself which could justify a sentence less than the minimum five-year term.