Man jailed for holding gun to pubgoer's head in row over fruit machines in Claremont Arms, Halliwell

The Bolton News: The Claremont Arms in Halliwell Road, Halliwell. Picture from Google Maps. The Claremont Arms in Halliwell Road, Halliwell. Picture from Google Maps.

A GUNMAN who held a weapon to a pubgoer’s head has been jailed.

Lindsay Thomas, prosecuting, told how Mark Singleton was enjoying a drink in his local, the Claremont Arms in Halliwell Road on March 17 when Joszef Horvath and five friends walked in just after 9pm.

The group of men went straight to the fruit machines and repeatedly ignored the landlady telling them they needed to buy a drink before they could play on the machines.

Customer Mr Singleton decided to intervene, but when he approached the group 22-year-old Horvath pulled out an imitation, gas powered BB gun.

Mrs Thomas told Bolton Crown Court yesterday: “He brought his right hand from behind his back and raised it up towards Mr Singleton’s head.

“At that point Mr Singleton caught sight of what appeared to be a gun.”

Mr Singleton later told police: “I was in a total state of shock.”

Horvath, who moved to England from Hungary six years ago, then left the pub and was arrested half an hour later in nearby Hobart Street.

Virginia Hayton, defending, said Horvath had bought the imitation firearm in Dewsbury and in Hungary it is legal to carry such weapons. Horvath said he believed he had been called a gipsy and had taken offence at the remark.

He told officers: “I just wanted to frighten him.”

Horvath, of Huddersfield Road, Dewsbury, pleaded guilty to possessing an imitation firearm with the intention to cause the belief of unlawful violence.

Judge Timothy Stead, who sentenced Horvath to 18 months in prison, said: “A member of the public was noble enough to stand up for something that was right and found himself threatened.”

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