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ADDICT HID GUN UNDER HIS FLOOR; Drug pusher mixed up in woman's kidnap jailed for five years.

By NEIL DOCKING Court Reporter neil.docking@trinitymirror.com LIVECHOCOURT @ A DRUG addict who had a semi-automatic pistol hidden in his Kensington home during a kidnapping was jailed for more than five years.

Liverpool Crown Court heard that a group of men brought "a female kidnap victim" from Hull to Andrew Fitzpatrick's home in Mansell Road on October 10 last year.

Police raided the house two days later, freed the woman and arrested a group of men believed to be responsible.

They also arrested Fitzpatrick, his brother and girlfriend, who rented the rundown property, and seized a ball of heroin.

Simon Duncan, prosecuting, said the trio were later released without charge and as far as officers were concerned, had nothing to do with the kidnapping or the drugs.

Andrew | | But when police searched the house on October 16, they discovered a Ruger .45 calibre pistol wrapped in a scarf and 20 rounds of ammunition under a loose floorboard on the first floor.

The American-made semi-automatic gun was not loaded but was in "very good" working condition and had its serial number erased.

Fitzpatrick, 48, was interviewed by police and claimed he knew nothing about the gun or bullets.

But forensic testing revealed his blood and saliva was on the scarf and his DNA was on the gun's trigger - along with that of four other people.

Mr Duncan said it could not be proven whether Fitzpatrick's DNA on the trigger was through direct contact or via the scarf.

Fitzpatrick was interviewed again and claimed he had been decorating on October 11, when he noticed a gap in the floorboards and picked up the gun inside the scarf.

He said he "panicked" and put it back, adding that he must have cut himself if his blood was on the scarf. He said he had not worn the scarf before and could not explain how his saliva came to be on it.

Mr Duncan said the Crown was "sceptical" about his explanation but police investigations indicated it was not his gun.

He said: "The defendant at some point came into possession of the gun and thereafter hid that weapon and essentially ensured in doing so that it was available for use.

Fitzpatrick "We don't say it was for his use, as there is some substance to the suggestion that it was one or more males who arrived at the premises on October 10 who was in possession of the gun."

Fitzpatrick, of Needham Road, Kensington, admitted possession of a banned firearm and ammunition.

In May, 2012, he was given an eightmonth sentence for burglary, suspended for two years. This sentence was ordered to continue in July, 2013, after he was caught supplying heroin.

Trevor Parry-Jones, defending, said his client was not happy when the alleged kidnappers entered his home, but "there was little he could do about it" and he was too scared to report finding the gun to the police.

Judge Andrew Hatton jailed him for a minimum of five years and activated four months of Fitzpatrick's suspended sentence.

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Title Annotation:Features
Publication:Liverpool Echo (Liverpool, England)
Date:Apr 9, 2015
Words:511
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