Leeds ‘binoculars gun’ man walks free

SCENE: A police officer collects evidence at Gotts Park, Armley, after the incident in October.
SCENE: A police officer collects evidence at Gotts Park, Armley, after the incident in October.
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A Leeds man who tried to get police to shoot him dead by threatening them with a pair of binoculars adapted to look like a gun has walked free from court.

Kyle Napier wanted to commit suicide at the hands of armed officers by threatening them with the imitation weapon in Gotts Park, Armley, in October.

The 20-year-old, of Fielding Gate, Armley, was moments from being fatally shot by one officer before another disarmed him using a rubber bullet.

They found what he had actually been brandishing was a snapped pair of binoculars.

Napier pleaded guilty to possession of an imitation firearm – an offence which carries a sentence of up to 10 years in prison – when he appeared at Leeds Crown Court.

But he was allowed to go free after being given a 12-month prison sentence suspended for 18 months.

Napier lured police to Gotts Park at about 6.30am on Wednesday, October 24, by calling 999 posing as a member of the public to report a man with a gun.

He then called police asking where they were.

At a court hearing in October, prosecutor Robert Campbell told magistrates: “A male appeared from some bushes dressed in black clothing. He had his hands in a pistol grip and had what officers believed to be a firearm. The defendant pointed his hands towards police and shouted ‘drop your weapons’.”

The officers ordered Napier to drop his weapon and get on the ground, but he refused.

Mr Campbell added: “Officers were prepared to use lethal force.

“One of the officers shone a light in the defendant’s eyes and was about to use his weapon when another of the officers discharged a baton round.

“It hit the defendant on his hand, knocking whatever he was holding out of his hands.”

They found the binoculars on the ground a short distance away.

“The defendant explained he wanted the police to attend and shoot him so that he could die,” Mr Campbell said.

The use of the rubber bullet was thought to be the first in history by West Yorkshire Police.

27 October 2017.
The view from the top of Leeds Town Hall.
Leeds Civic Hall.

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