Over-the-limit driver who fell asleep with loaded gun on his lap gets jail

Over-the-limit driver who fell asleep with loaded gun on his lap gets jail

A father-of-two who fell asleep in traffic with a loaded gun on his lap after he had been drinking has been jailed in England.

Nathan Gardier was over the limit when he nodded off in the driving seat at a set of traffic lights in east London earlier this month, while in possession of a 9mm pistol.

The 24-year-old claimed, his barrister said, to have found the weapon in a field, but that explanation was "utterly implausible", Recorder Sally Hales QC said.

Gardier, who pleaded guilty to having a firearm and ammunition in a public place, and being in charge of a motor vehicle while above the legal alcohol limit, apologised at the time of his arrest and said it was "probably fate", Snaresbrook Crown Court heard.

Mohammed Bashir, representing Gardier, said his client had told him the incident at Willow Walk shortly before 10am on August 4, and arrest "must be something God has put in my path for a reason".

Nathan Gardier.
Nathan Gardier.

Gardier had lost custody of his two children a year earlier, the court heard, and Mr Bashir said it was the accumulative effect of this, not being able to see them and losing his warehouse job some months later that led to the incident.

He said Gardier told him he was in a "dark place" at the time, adding: "Any other day I would not have touched that pistol."

Sentencing him to five and a half years imprisonment, Ms Hales said she must impose a strong term as a deterrent "because of the dangers such weapons can do particularly in the hands of the wrong people and that includes you Mr Gardier".

She added: "In your case the harm that you presented was worse because the firearm was loaded, ready to be fired, with a bullet in the chamber."

Gardier, of Falmer Road, Walthamstow, who was more than one and a half times the legal limit, was also disqualified from driving for a year.

He waved to tearful relatives as he left the dock.

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