An alcoholic couple described as ‘crazy dipsomaniacs’, who showed off a sawn-off shotgun they found in a rubbish bin to teenagers, have been spared immediate custody.
Instead, a judge told Simon Frederick Thomas Larmour and Tatjana Glusecenko that he was going to defer sentence on them for six months to await a fresh probation report.
Two weeks ago Judge Gordon Kerr QC said he wanted to review the complex case to ascertain if it involved a degree of ‘exceptionality’, without which the couple faced an immediate sentence of at least five years.
On Monday the judge told the pair: “You both must voluntarily comply with the statutory authorities in order to deal with your drinking problems.
“During the course of this deferral, there is to be no further offending and I must get good probation reports when you come back before me in six months. If not you will be going into immediate custody.”
In the case of Larmour, 28, of Causeway Meadows in Lisburn, Co Antrim, the judge said he would receive three years in prison.
Tatjana Glusecenko, a 36-year-old Lithuanian national with an address at Verner Street, Belfast, was told she would be sent to prison for two years.
Both were released on continuing bail to be sentenced on October 10.
The pair admitted possessing the firearm without a firearms certificate on July 2, 2015.
Prosecutor Mark Farrell had told Belfast Crown Court last month that on that date a group of youths in a playground in Dover Street in the Shankill area were approached by the pair who were highly intoxicated.
From Glusecenko’s green handbag, Larmour produced the shotgun wrapped in a cloth.
Larmour offered to sell the teenagers the weapon and saying he “wanted to shoot a taig”.
He then rewrapped the gun and put it back into the handbag. Mr Farrell said that eventually the pair were overpowered by “two gentlemen”, later described as ‘local community representatives’ who restrained them until police arrived.
Defence barrister Stuart McTaggart, for Glusecenko, said she “can’t believe the position she is in”, and claimed she was “just in the wrong place at the wrong time”.
Mr McTaggart said there was no suggestion that Glusecenko, an alcoholic, threatened anyone, or made threats of violence, and had even told Larmour “to wise up”.
He further argued that the legislation, which carries an immediate penalty of five years, was meant for those with ready access to weapons, or were involved in organised crime.
Barrister Jon Connolly, for Larmour, also argued there was an ‘exceptionality’ to the case, not only because of the offence, but given the backgound of the accused and the case itself.
Although he too acknowledged that the custody threshold had been passed, Mr Connolly described the circumstances as just “incredible” and that Larmour was an alcoholic whose life was an “absolute mess” who is currently on supervised licence for other offences until January 2018.
“This is a crazy case with both of them dipsomaniacs,” said Mr Connolly.