Dying fisherman threatened teenager with knife and gun in ‘bizarre’ incident at South Shields seafront

Jeffrey Moore
Jeffrey Moore

A MAN who held a knife to a teenager’s throat and threatened to shoot him with an air rifle has been jailed – despite having a life expectancy of just one year.

Jeffrey Moore’s victim, a 15-year-old boy, was fishing with a friend at a beach in South Shields, when they asked him for his advice.

Newcastle Crown Court was told yesterday that Moore, 51, then pulled out a rope and a knife and thrust the blade up against the victim’s neck.

Moore then steered the weapon towards the victim’s chest and pointed it aggressively towards both of the boys before pulling out an air rifle from a carrier bag.

Bridie Smurthwaite, prosecuting, told the court: “He originally had the knife and gun for fishing purposes but this changed.

“According to the victim’s friend Moore then pulled out an air rifle and waved it towards the victims face before saying, ‘this is for the seagulls when they take all your fish’.

“He then shouted ‘bang’ and ‘should I put him out of his misery?’ before putting the air weapon back into the bag.”

Miss Smurthwaite then read out the teenager’s personal victim statements, saying: “I was very scared and shocked. I would not feel safe fishing again and I am now worried when I am out.

“The boy’s father said he has completely changed because of this. He won’t leave his room let alone the house.”

The court heard Moore, of Agricola Court, South Shields, has eight previous convictions for 11 offences received a conditional discharge for possession of a flick knife in 2009.

Vic Laffey, defending, said: “He had made arrangements to go camping for the weekend otherwise he would never have had the gun. He expresses full remorse and has serious health problems.

“It’s quite obvious that he bitterly regrets causing fear to the young lads. This was a very bizarre set of circumstances that escalated very quickly.

“He suffers significantly from depression and his life expectancy is very poor. His partner has recently broken up with him and this has made things worse.

“This is somebody not far from the end of his life and significant alcohol problems have led to a life threatening disease.

Judge Morris sentenced Moore to eight months imprisonment for possessing a firearm with intent to cause harm and assault by beating.

He said: “This is a difficult case. For whatever reason you were out fishing and came across these teenagers. You then drew a knife on one of them and held it to his neck before producing an air weapon.

“If he had moved suddenly then it could have been fatal.

“I would ordinarily have locked you up for two years but I take into account your health and life expectancy of just one year.

“Illness or no illness you have caused a serious affect on the young boy and the public would be outraged if I suspended the sentence.”