Stun gun offence leads to suspended prison sentence for former Waveney district councillor for Worlingham Andrew Draper
A shamed former Waveney district councillor was told his life was on a 'downward spiral' after he was handed a suspended prison sentence for his latest offence – possessing an illegal stun gun.
Andrew Draper claimed he found the stun gun when he was previously living in Rugby and admitted to charging it a few weeks before police discovered it in his house.
The 38-year-old of Martin Close, Carlton Colville, Lowestoft said he had not known how to dispose of the weapon, and was unaware of amnesties where he could hand it into the police.
But Judge Rupert Overbury at Ipswich Crown Court told the former Worlingham district councillor that he was a man of previous 'impeccable character' and a suspended prison sentence had to be put in place to prevent him continuing his 'downward spiral'.
Yesterday's court appearance follows previous convictions for Draper for drink driving, assaulting a police inspector and sending an offensive email to police.
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Draper pleaded guilty to the stun gun offence last week and was told at the time that he may face a prison sentence.
Judge Rupert Overbury, sentencing Draper, said: 'What is of particular concern is the escalation of your offending towards the authority, and particularly towards the police service.
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'Last year you were a man of impeccable character; a public representative serving the district council. You were someone who performed charitable duties.
'For some reason your life since last August has gone on a repeated down-hill slope. First of all you drove on excess alcohol, then as part of that offence you assaulted a police office and then engaged in sending a grossly offensive communication to that police officer.
'I think you had no intention of using this weapon.
'Had it been used it could have inflicted serious harm.
'You are an intelligent man, but you took the irresponsible choice to keep it within the public.
'Any such further offending will be met by a prison sentence.
'Unless that is put in place there's a real risk of you committing other offences, and could continue this downward spiral.'
Judge Overbury added: 'Shame has been put upon you and you have shown genuine remorse.'
The judge's comments came after the court heard from prosecutor Robert Sadd how the police had searched Draper's house in relation to another incident and found a stun gun in his bedroom drawer. When asked by police if he had it for self defence he answered 'no comment'.
In mitigation, Jude Durr said: 'He was a man of good character who had been working hard throughout his adult life.
He said Draper had picked up the stun gun while he was working as a transport manager for a company in Rugby and didn't know what to do with it.
He said Draper had suffered mental health problems aggravated by alcohol.
He added: 'Although he had heard of a knife amnesty he had heard nothing of a weapons amnesty and didn't take steps to eradicate it.
'This case has caused him and his family considerable embarrassment.'
Draper showed no emotion when he was given an eight-month prison sentence, suspended for 12 months, and was ordered to carry out 200 hours unpaid work.
Last August, Draper pleaded guilty to drink-driving and assaulting a police officer, and in November admitted sending an email to a police sergeant.
In the email, which was described in court as 'abusive and threatening', Draper accused the female sergeant of being fat, unattractive and open to corruption. Draper, a self-employed residential landlord, was fined �250 and ordered to pay �250 compensation to the officer.
The court heard that he complained to Suffolk police over the manner of his arrest in Beccles Road, Carlton Colville for drink-driving and claimed police had used excessive force in arresting him. He also suggested that he had only kicked out at a police officer as an involuntary act of self-defence after being pepper-sprayed.
Following his convictions, he eventually resigned from the council leading to a by-election in the Worlingham ward, near Beccles.