Man Shot By Police Sentenced

18 January 2019, 18:00 | Updated: 18 January 2019, 18:03

Houlihan Weapon

A man who raised a gun towards police in Bishop Auckland has been handed an indefinite hospital order.

Samuel Houlihan had to be shot by armed officers when he refused to lower the weapon.

The 24 year old was already banned from owning a firearm, but lied about it to shop workers so he could buy the pistol in May last year.

He was caught on CCTV carrying it in to a working men's club, before buying a bottle of whisky from a convenience store.

He repeatedly ignored police who were shouting at him not to raise the gun - which turned out to be an imitation firearm - while the driver of the taxi was sitting next to him in shock.

He eventually took a mouthful of whiskey, made a cross sign, and held up the pistol.

The driver of the taxi got out - before Houlihan was shot in the arm through the window.

He has been diagnosed as suffering from schizophrenia or episodic psychosis.

Police say it's still unclear what his intentions were, but he acted recklessley, and frightened members of the public.

Houlihan admitted possessing a firearm with intent to cause fear of violence and possessing a firearm when prohibited.

Today at Durham Crown court he was handed an indefinite hospital order under the Mental Health Act.

He was described in court as "remarkably lucky" to suffer only a flesh wound when he was shot at close range.

The judge heard a victim statement from the taxi driver, Paul Gardner, who said he was left unable to pick up strangers in his cab, suffered from flashbacks, required medication for anxiety and was displaying signs of suffering from Post Traumatic Stress Disorder.

Judge Christopher Prince praised the police for their response, saying: "They did not shirk from their unenviable duty, to both risk taking and saving a man's life.

"They were calm, they were composed, despite having to overcome that personal fear that a firearms officer would fear as much as anyone else."

The defendant has a previous conviction for dressing up as a PCSO and had sparked a previous armed response incident in his street when he brandished a BB gun.