Leeds man threatened to shoot his neighbour in the head with air rifle during doorstep dispute over cash

A man who threatened to shoot his neighbour in the head on the doorstep of his home during a row over money has been sent to prison.

Thursday, 18th November 2021, 4:45 am

Steven Cowan turned up at the victim's home in Halton Moor in the middle of the night wearing a balaclava and carrying an air rifle.

Cowan, 47, aimed the weapon at his former pal and said: "Give me £200 or I am going to shoot you eight times. You will take them in the boat race."

Leeds Crown Court heard Cowan and the victim live near each other and had been friends for a number of years before the incident on April 13 this year.

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Steven Cowan was jailed for 21 months at Leeds Crown Court after he threatened to shoot his neighbour in the head with an air rifle during a row over money.

James Lake, prosecuting, said the two men fell out over money which Cowan claimed the victim owed him.

Cowan turned up at the man's home on Appleby Place at 1.15am and knocked on the door.

He had a balaclava over his head and was carrying an air rifle over his shoulder.

Mr Lake said the victim instantly recognised Cowan despite the defendant wearing a disguise.

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The victim said to Cowan: "What are you doing here at this time, Steven?"

Cowan demanded money and told the victim to get his bank card but he refused to hand it over.

Mr Lake said: "He pointed the air rifle at him and said 'give me £200 or I am going to shoot you eight times. You will take them in the boat race', meaning face".

The victim feared Cowan was going to shoot him but told him to leave and to stop trying to intimidate him.

Cowan then said: "I am warning you. If you don't have £200 within the hour you are taking seven to the skull."

He then fired the weapon into the ground outside the house before walking away.

Police were contacted and officers found the weapon at Cowan's home on Cartmell Drive.

Cowan denied any offence after he was arrested.

He claimed it was a case of mistaken identity then changed his account to claim that the victim had made the incident up in order to get out of the debt he owed.

Cowan pleaded guilty to possession of an imitation firearm with intent to cause fear of violence on the day of his trial.

He has previous convictions for poaching deer, stealing petrol and animal cruelty.

Cowan's barrister, Paul Hodgkinson, told the court: "Steven Cowan is a man who does not have many friends. Now he has lost another one, which is very sad."

Mr Hodgkinson said Cowan had fired the weapon into the pavement outside the victim's home and had not pointed the rifle directly at him.

Cowan was jailed for 21 months. He was also made the subject of a restraining order.

Judge Robin Mairs told Cowan: "You have destroyed that friendship that you had.

"That friendship cannot be rekindled, as you are not to go to the street where he lives or contact him, either directly or indirectly."