A husband who pointed an air rifle at his wife said he did so to “shock her” out of hysteria.

Carl Hughes was before Truro Crown Court this morning (Friday) to be sentenced, having previously pleaded guilty to possession of a firearm with intent to cause fear of violence.

The 50-year-old from Mawnan Smith was said to have grabbed the gun, which was not loaded, and pointed it at his wife after she became “hysterical” following a phone call to the doctor.

The prosecution said it was in June this year that his wife had called 999 to say she was afraid her husband may become violent after Hughes had held an air rifle at close range to her.

Hughes was arrested and told police the events leading up to it. He said he had heard his wife on the telephone to her doctors, complaining about “how useless they were.”

He said he tried to calm her down but she turned her anger towards him, “blaming him for everything,” said the prosecutor.

“He stated he felt worn down by her behaviour.

“Despite his best endeavours his wife was behaving hysterically and so seeing the air rifle he picked it up and pointed it at her, and shouted ‘Stop, stop!’

“He was trying to use it as a distraction to make her snap out of her emotional state.”

Hughes told police he held it one foot away from her and when asked if he intended her to fear unlawful violence he said: “I suppose I did, but I never intended to use it.”

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Judge Robert Linford said he had read a letter from Hughes’s wife, who supported him.

He told Hughes: “At some point between the 10th and 17th of June the stress which had been building up over the days, weeks, months and years finally boiled over.

“You heard your wife on the telephone and she became effectively hysterical. You reacted to that inappropriately.

“You picked up a nearby air rifle. It wasn’t loaded. You pointed it at her in an attempt to shock her out of that – and she agreed that is what happened.

“She does not hold it against you. She is grateful that you have cared for her for as long as you have, and this is a completely isolated one-off incident that I’m sure will never be repeated.”

Judge Linford said that although the guidelines stated such an offence required a custody sentence, there was “very strong mitigation” for this to be suspended.

As such he sentenced Hughes to 12 months in prison suspended for 12 months, with a requirement to attend a mental health programme over the next year. The firearm will also be forfeited and destroyed.

“You are a hardworking, caring man who on one occasion boiled over,” added the judge.