‘Armed’ man had paint scraper


- Credit: Archant

A FORMER Sidmouth resident who sparked an armed siege after telling police he had a gun has walked free after a court heard he was carrying a paint scraper.

Marc Carpenter taunted officers to shoot him in the head and was told by a judge he was lucky not to have been killed during the stand-off in the centre of Exeter.

Carpenter called police to warn them that he had a gun and a friend told officers he planned to kill himself.

The 33-year-old sparked a major armed response on a footbridge over the River Exe at Haven Banks which led to nearby holidaymakers being evacuated.

Carpenter of Clarence Road , Exeter, but formerly of Sedamunda Close, Sidmouth, and Broad Street , Ottery St Mary, denied possessing an imitation firearm but wasting police time.

He was conditionally discharged and ordered him to pay £100 costs by Judge Francis Gilbert, QC, at Exeter Crown Court.

He said he took into account the five weeks he has spent in custody since the incident and added that Carpenter had invited the police to shoot him and said ‘make it a head shot’.

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He said: “Fortunately, or unfortunately, depending which way you look at it, they did not.”

Mr David Bowen, prosecuting, said: “After receiving calls from Carpenter and a friend of his, police found him near a footbridge across the River Exe. He was face down and had a holdall.

“He said he had a gun in the holdall and invited police to shoot him”.

After being surrounded by armed police and negotiators, Carpenter surrendered to officers, who found the bag contained a paint scraper in a plastic sheath.

The incident happened on a hot day and dozens of sunseekers and children were in the area where the incident happened, close to a playground.

Originally the judge had been told Carpenter had a plastic squeezy windscreen sponge but yesterday he heard it was nothing more lethal than a ‘harmless’ paint scraper.

Miss Kelly Scrivener, defending, said Carpenter had issues in his life at the time and has already spent time in custody as a result of his actions.

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