Cirencester man gets curfew for drone pilot gun confrontation

Michael Edwards, 72

Image caption,

Michael Edwards was arrested in August after confronting drone pilot Daine Gooden outside his home in Cirencester

A man who shot at a drone flying near his home and then confronted its pilot with a gun has been put under curfew and ordered to pay £3,000 compensation.

Michael Edwards, 72, was arrested in August after confronting estate agent videographer Daine Gooden in Cirencester, Gloucestershire.

Video footage shows Edwards walking up to Mr Gooden with a black airgun.

At Gloucester Crown Court he received a 12-month community order and was placed under curfew for four months.

During this time, he must remain at home between 19:00 and 07:00 BST.

Media caption,

The row took place when another man flew a drone over the house in Cirencester.

Mr Gooden, 33, was flying the drone over the area to film properties marketed for sale.

The court heard he was reduced to tears after the conflict, and that Edwards told him to “stop being such a pussycat”.

Footage of the confrontation shows Edwards, of Shepherds Way, Cirencester, walking up to Mr Gooden with the G10 Repeater air pistol in his right hand.

It begins with Edwards telling Mr Gooden he is shooting at the drone.

Edwards then appears to hit the drone with the gun barrel and there is a struggle, during which Mr Gooden disarms Edwards.

‘Like a madman’

Police were called shortly afterwards and seized the air weapon.

The prosecution said that on seeing the video footage, Edwards admitted to police he looked “like a madman” and that the gun “looked like a Magnum”.

The court heard he apologised to officers, saying: “Next time, I will call you guys.”

Prosecutor Christopher Smyth told the court Mr Gooden had been properly licensed to fly the drone.

Mr Gooden has given two victim impact statements.

He said: “At the time I was very scared. I was trying to stay calm, but it was difficult with a gun being pointed at me.

“I’m now on medication for depression and having to undergo counselling.

“The whole episode has had a devastating effect on me. I hope that this sentencing hearing at court today will bring some sort of closure for me.”

‘Arrogant and flippant’

The defence lawyer said Edwards was of “previous good character”, genuinely remorseful and had apologised.

He added that Edwards had gone into the street because he thought the drone was below 50m (164ft) as it flew over his garden.

Edwards told police he was angry because Mr Gooden had not sought permission before flying the drone.

He also admitted being arrogant and flippant towards Mr Gooden.

Edwards had previously denied possessing an imitation firearm with intent to cause Mr Gooden to believe that unlawful violence would be used against him on 22 August.

However, he admitted a less serious charge of having a firearm in a public place without lawful authority or reasonable excuse, on 22 August.

The pleas were accepted by the prosecution.

Recorder Richard Mawhinney told Edwards: “You pleaded guilty to having an air pistol in a public place – and due to the appearance of the weapon, the victim Mr Daine Gooden thought it was a real gun.

“Fearing for his safety, he tried to remove it from your hand.

“You were abusive towards Mr Gooden, calling him a pussycat. I’m not surprised that the incident has affected him psychologically as it caused him significant stress at the time and he has now lost his job because of all this.”

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