A paedophile tried unsuccessfully to shoot himself on the day of his trial.
Nicholas Riley, 52, had ‘had enough’ and wanted to end his own life, Burnley Crown Court was told.
But after pointing the illegal weapon towards his chest and pulling the trigger, the gun didn’t fire due to a faulty firing pin.
Riley, of Burnley Road, Accrington, was facing trial on charges of indecent assault and sexual activity with a female child. He pleaded guilty to these charges at a later hearing.
He was due to appear in court last October but when he did not appear police went round to his house. They forced entry into the garage and found him on the floor with a ‘dark object across his lap’, the court heard.
Michael Blakey, prosecuting, said one of the officers asked Riley if he was all right to which he replied: “Don’t come any closer”.
Mr Blakey said they then heard a loud metallic click “like a dry firearm” and the officers fled the house and hid behind a wall. Riley later appeared from the garage with his hands in his pockets and was arrested.
The court was told how Riley had modified a Milbro Cougar .22” calibre air pistol and it was loaded. During his police interview Riley said he had ‘had enough’ and wanted to end his own life.
Mr Blakey said: “He said things had got on top of him because of the court case.
“He was feeling really depressed and had serious thoughts about ending his own life.”
Mr Blakey said Riley cocked the weapon towards his chest and pulled the trigger twice but the gun didn’t fire. Martin Hackett, defending, said the firearm was not capable of being fired because of a faulty firing pin and that he was in a ‘settled state of mind’ when trying to take his own life. He said Riley was ‘coming to terms’ with his life and difficulties with his marriage and a recent bailiff’s letter had ‘tipped him over the edge’.
Riley also pleaded guilty to possessing a firearm with intent to cause fear of violence and possession of ammunition without a certificate.
He was jailed for a total of five years for the combination of offences and given a 15-year sexual prevention order preventing him from unsupervised contact with girls under 18.
Sentencing, Judge Beverly Lunt said Riley had shown “no remorse” in relation to the indecent assault and sexual activity.
She added: “You were sitting in a dark garage with a loaded gun when the unsuspecting police officer walked in.
“I accept that there was no evidence you discharged it towards them but they didn’t know that and it must have been absolutely terrifying.”