A THIEF who broke into the garage at a friend’s Leamington home and stole a shotgun which he then sawed down and loaded will have to spend at least ten years behind bars.
Duane Taylor had denied burglary, shortening a shotgun, possessing an altered firearm, and possessing it with intent to endanger life, but was convicted after a trial at Warwick Crown Court.
And following an adjournment for a report to be prepared on him, Judge Andrew Lockhart QC gave him an extended 15-year prison sentence after classing him as a dangerous offender.
As a result the 28-year-old, of Eden Court, Leamington, will have to serve at least ten years of the sentence.
Even then, he will only be freed before serving the whole sentence if the Parole Board decides it is safe to do so.
He will then be on licence for the rest of that time and for a further three years, during which time he can be recalled to prison if his behaviour gives any cause for concern.
During the trial prosecutor Peter Cooper said on April 3 there was a burglary at the integral garage of a house in Gullimans Way, and a Beretta over-and-under shotgun was stolen, together with three boxes of cartridges.
The owner, who lived there with his parents, would normally have put the shotgun in a gun safe.
But after he had been shooting the previous evening it needed cleaning and, because he had been due to go out, he left it on a workbench in the garage and asked his father to clean it and put it away for him.
Unfortunately that did not happen, and when he returned from staying with his girlfriend two days later his mother asked where the gun was – and it was realised it was missing.
When police arrested Taylor, at a flat in Warwick Place, they discovered the stolen shotgun in a cupboard.
By then the barrel had been shortened, turning it into an illegal sawn-off shotgun, and it was loaded with two cartridges.
Taylor claimed he was not the person on the CCTV but the shotgun owner recognised him because they had been to school together and Taylor was the former boyfriend of his sister – as a result of which he knew the layout of the house.