'Incompetent' gunman fired shots at rival's house to prove he was a 'hard man' during feud after punch-up in Yorkshire pub

A man fired shots at a rival's house during the middle of the night as part of an ongoing feud between the two men after a pub fight.

Friday, 7th August 2020, 4:45 pm

Jake Mitchell terrified a resident on Carrington Green, Batley, as he fired a gun at a house in the cul-de-sac in the early hours of March 26 this year.

Leeds Crown Court heard Mitchell's intended target was a man he had fought with in a pub weeks earlier.

Mitchell's barrister described to the court how the shooting was "pretty incompetent" as the other man slept through the disturbance and the defendant had been standing outside the wrong house.

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Jake Mitchell fired shots at his rival's home during a feud in Batley.

Mitchell instead frightened a woman in a neighbouring property who dived for cover on her bedroom floor after looking out of her window and seeing sparks flying from the gun as Mitchell discharged the weapon.

Amanda Johnson, prosecuting, said the woman heard three loud bangs and saw Mitchell in a 'shooting stance' beside some bins.

She opened her window and asked Mitchell what he was doing.

The 28-year-old replied "f*** you, f*** you." before firing two more shots.

Mitchell then walked off and police were contacted.

A police sniffer dog was used to trace Mitchell.

He was arrested the next day at his sister's home.

Police recovered 8mm blank cartridges from the shooting scene.

They were the same type as those recovered from Mitchell's home on Carr Street, Birstall.

Ms Johnson said the shots had been fired by a self-loading pistol capable of firing blank rounds.

The prosecutor said the background to the shooting incident was a dispute between Mitchell and a man who lived on Carrington Green.

She said the two men had a fist fight at the New Inn pub weeks before the incident.

There had been another occasion when the pair were supposed to meet and the other man was arrested after arming himself with a meat cleaver.

Mitchell was also found in possession of small amounts of cannabis when he was arrested over the shooting.

He pleaded guilty to possession of an imitation firearm with intent to cause fear of violence and possession of a class B drug.

Andrew Dallas, mitigating, said: "What he did was pretty incompetent.

"I accept that it was serious and frightening.

"But it did not caused fear and distress to his intended target because he failed to wake up.

"He was standing outside the wrong house in the street."

Mr Dallas added: "There weren't many people around and there is no evidence that anybody has been seriously affected by this."

The barrister said Mitchell worked hard as a ventiliation engineer to support his family but had been in custody cince being arrested.

Mitchell was jailed for 18 months.

Judge Mushtaq Khokhar said: "You knew it was an imitation firearm and I am sure you intended no more than to send a message to (the other man) that you were a hard man and you had a gun that you were prepared to use.

"It is not the law of the jungle that operates in this country."