“He pointed it towards his chest and held the trigger"
Liaqat Ali, aged 70, of Birmingham, was jailed for 18 months after he threatened to shoot his neighbour with an imitation gun after their friendship soured over money.
Birmingham Crown Court heard that Ali was “extremely intoxicated” when he pointed the BB gun at the man’s chest with his finger on the trigger.
The incident on July 1, 2021, came after an exchange of assaults, harassment and threats to kill between the former friends were reported to police by both, but none was taken any further.
Naomi Nelson-Cofie, prosecuting, said: “In recent times this complainant and the defendant hadn’t been getting along.
“I have been sent eight to nine crime logs which show reports to the police from both parties – reports of assault, harassment and threats to kill on both sides.
“These reports have been taken no further.
“At 2 pm on July 1, the complainant returned home and received a normal knock at the door. He was expecting a friend to visit so he answered without hesitation.
“The defendant appeared intoxicated and asked him to come for a drink with him.”
But due to the feud, the neighbour told Ali to “f*** off away from his door”.
Miss Nelson-Cofie continued: “He produced a handgun. The complainant thought at the time the gun was real.
“He pointed it towards his chest and held the trigger with his finger for about five seconds.”
Although the neighbour believed the gun was real, he “responded with bravado and taunted” Ali to “shoot it p****”. This left Ali “shaky”.
Miss Nelson-Cofie said: “That gave him an opportunity to step back and ring the intercom.
“The defendant quickly ran away and returned back to his flat. The police were contacted. The complainant [later] decided to go outside for a cigarette.”
The neighbour lived beneath Ali’s address and then shouted towards Ali “out of frustration”.
Miss Nelson-Cofie said: “The defendant responded by pointing that same gun out of the window towards the complainant.
“The gun was being cocked and so it was rightly feared. The defendant said I’m going to shoot you.”
Armed police soon arrived and made several attempts to get into Ali’s Trident House flat.
Afterwards, Ali became compliant and officers found a BB gun with plastic bullets.
Ali pleaded guilty to possession of an imitation firearm.
Geraldine Toal, defending, said: “You know the reason Mr Ali had become frustrated with him. He lent money to him. This led to an unusual exchange of reports to the police.
“He seems to be a gentleman that is of some stoicism to be able to remonstrate with this gentleman from a distance.”
Ali turned to alcohol and that was a “very sad ingredient” to his character.
The court heard that Ali was estranged from his family.
Miss Toal continued: “When the relationship soured [with the complainant] he didn’t even have him to have a drink with.”
The court heard that Ali had diabetes and heart problems as well as mental health problems.
She added: “I would ask you not to keep him in custody any longer.
“He has been in custody for just in excess of two months, spending 23 hours a day in his cell because of ongoing Covid restrictions.
“The background is that he lent money to the complainant and felt aggrieved that it had not been returned. He was no longer prepared to lend money as it had not been coming back.”
Judge John Butterfield QC told Ali: “There are significant aggravating factors. There were two stages to the incident.
“The victim was targeted in his own home and there were attempts to conceal the weapon from the police.
“I have heard of your physical and mental health problems. [I must apply] a further uplift for the racist element of the offence.
“Though it is with a heavy heart that I pose this sentence on someone of your age. I feel compelled to do so.”
Liaqat Ali was jailed for 18 months.