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Maniac gunman ordered murder weapons by mail; PISTOL SCANDAL: Killer gets four life sentences as Cullen and Major betray Dunblane families.

A crazed gunman murdered a young mum and tried to kill three more people - after arming himself by MAIL ORDER. And as Richard Humphrey, 22, got four life sentences, it emerged that John Major is set to defy public opinion and let gun nuts KEEP their weapons.

It was chillingly easy for Humphrey to get guns. He put a spoof advert in a magazine called Gun Mart, saying he was selling a pistol.

When he got a reply, he asked the customer to post him his gun licence, to prove he was legitimate.

Then he used the licence to get a .22 handgun and a .357 magnum, plus bullets, from Gun Mart.

Old Bailey judge Lawrence Verney said it was "deplorable" that Londoner Humphrey got weapons so easily.

And Police Federation chairman Fred Broughton said the killer had exposed our weak gun laws. He added: "Wholesale prohibition of handguns is the correct solution."

But Downing Street sources said Major "firmly expects" the inquiry into the Dunblane massacre to come out against a ban. Instead, chairman Lord Cullen will say Britain's 57,000 handgun shooters should keep their weapons locked up at gun clubs.

Clubs would be forced to make their premises secure.

Insiders say Major will go along with the plan when Cullen's report is published next month. He believes it will satisfy the public.

The scheme goes further than the six Tories on the Home Affairs Committee, who wouldn't even stop people keeping guns at home.

But it's still a compromise which will anger millions of ordinary people.

Humphrey was a small-time mugger desperate to be a notorious villain.

The prosecution called him a "a permanently-primed explosive". He murdered mum- of-two Victoria Odususi as she headed home from a prayer meeting by shooting her in the eye and neck.

Victoria, 34, was found dying by her brother.

Three months earlier, Humphrey had tried to hold up a senior RAF officer as he walked home from work.

Brave Wing Commander Peter Drissell was shot as he tried to grab the gun. Four bullets are still lodged in the 6ft 5in officer's body, and he only survived because he is super-fit.

Humphrey fled with the Wing Commander's briefcase, a handful of change and a Chinese takeaway.

When pregnant passer-by Carol Bell yelled at the gunman to stop, he fired two shots at her.

Days later, Humphrey shot a man in a tube station at point-blank range.

Michael Perry, 23, raised his arm to protect himself, and the bullet ricocheted off a bangle on his wrist.

Humphrey also tried to shoot Mark Rodgers, 20, in the foot as he mugged him for two bags of clothes. But the shot missed.

Humphrey was convicted of murdering Mrs Odususi and attempting to murder Drissell, Mr Perry and Mrs Bell.

He was also found guilty of two robberies and firearms offences. The crimes were committed in his native south London, in a four- month period starting in April.

At his trial, he boasted he feared no one and grinned: "You only die once."

The jury found him guilty after 14 hours deliberation. He snarled "Senseless, racist bastards" at them as he was led away.

Boy witness William Taffe, 10, played a vital role in nailing Humphrey. He saw him shoot Drissell, then collected the spent shell cases for police.

Judge Verney praised him in court and awarded him pounds 100 from public funds.

Paul Ammah, Humphrey's accomplice in the robbery of Wing Commander Drissell, was jailed for six years. A file on the case will be sent to the Government.

And the judge noted that the shootings were all carried out with the .22 pistol, which some say should be exempt from any gun ban because it's used in sport.

Gun Mart editor Pat Farey said last night: "We can't take responsibility for the actions of a criminal."

But Alan Newman QC, defending, said: "These shootings wouldn't have taken place if Humphrey hadn't been able to flick through Gun Mart and choose from the armoury.

"He must not be made a scapegoat for society's failure to regulate its affairs."
COPYRIGHT 1996 Scottish Daily Record & Sunday
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Author:Mackay, Don; Murphy, Brendan
Publication:Daily Record (Glasgow, Scotland)
Date:Aug 15, 1996
Previous Article:BOY'S VITAL EVIDENCE.
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