A WREXHAM drug dealer who fired an imitation firearm in front of a screaming child has been sentenced to serve four years in prison.

Ellis Peter Davies, 22, of no fixed abode, said he had been chased by two men carrying knives to a residential street in the Gwenfro area of Caia Park on October 5 last year.

Earlier that afternoon, a witness saw a car mount the pavement and strike Davies, who “leapt up into the air” to try and avoid the impact.

A resident in Gwenfro saw two males crouching down behind a car outside her home and because her daughter, who was playing in the garden, began crying, went out to tell them to leave. However, when she did so, a third male appeared from a neighbours garden carrying a silver handgun. The male pointed the gun at the two men and fired it, with the weapon making a popping sound, similar to a BB gun.

David Maidstone, prosecuting at Mold Crown Court, said how Davies had got “very close” to the traumatised woman and her daughter, who both quickly ran inside and called the police.

Mr Maidstone explained how another witness earlier saw a car mounting a curb on nearby Prince Charles Street and attempted to run Davies over, before it very quickly sped off. He said how later that evening, the defendant’s mother called North Wales Police to tell them her son and been struck by a car and chased by two men carrying knives.

After Davies was arrested for being in possession of a firearm, text messages found on his phone backed up his story that he had been struck by a vehicle and chased by two males, before he had responded by pointing a gun at them in an attempt to make them leave him alone.

Other text messages on Davies’ phone showed how he had been dealing in class A and B drugs, and after a search was executed at an address in the town, various other weapons were found, including a taser, knuckle dusters and baton. Police officers also found large quantities of both cocaine and heroin, which had a street value of around £4,000. In a search at another address, a quantity of cannabis was also found.

Mr Maidstone said other text messages found on Davies’ phone showed how he was a regular visitor to Liverpool, where he would obtain drugs from an unnamed person before returning to North Wales to sell them.

Davies provided a statement while on remand, admitting to selling the drugs and that he bought the £1,300 taser for his own protection.

Davies had 13 previous convictions for 19 offences, including for affray, possession of a bladed article and common assault. He had committed these latest offences whilst being subject of a community order.

Mark Connor, defending, said his client had written a letter to the Judge expressing his genuine feelings of remorse and said he fully understood the potential consequences of his behaviour. He was thoroughly ashamed to have acted the way he did in front of a mother and her child and wanted to personally apologise to them for the upset and trauma he had clearly caused them.

As way of background, Mr Connor told the court how Davies had been homeless when he was approached by a drug dealer, as he had begun to build up a debt due to the fact he was smoking “too much” cannabis.

Mr Connor said: “He told me quite frankly, how dealing drugs provided him with an income.

“He was chased by the two males armed with knives, who he knew, as they had assaulted him on previous occasions.”

Mr Connor said Davies had no justification to fire the airgun at the men, despite doing so in an attempt to scare them away.

He added: “If he hadn’t been in the drugs business, the incident would not have occurred.

“He now knows that this woman and her daughter would have been very frightened.”

Mr Connor accepted that the aggravating feature of the case was that the incident happened in a public place, in broad daylight and had been carried out in front of vulnerable witnesses.

Davies, who he said was using his time in custody wisely by completing several courses with the hope of becoming an industrial cleaner, now had a clear head and that prison was “just what he needed”.

Judge Niclas Parry told Davies that his drug dealing was contributing to the misery of drugs in what was one of the worst affected towns in the whole of North Wales.

He said: “It causes criminality and misery and often leads to violence.

“You had a taser weapon, which you said was for your own protection, which means you would have been willing to use it.

“You were engaged in fairly serious violence and what aggravates this case is that it was witnessed a child so distressed she screamed.”

Judge Parry said Davies had been within “touching distance” of the mother and her child and although the gun was an imitation weapon, it had looked real to them at the time.

He said his previous convictions for having weapons and for committing acts of violence were further aggravating features, but accepted his remorse was genuine and gave him full credit for his guilty pleas in relation to the drug offences.

He sentenced him to serve 32 months for the possession of class A drugs and 16 months for being in possession of the imitation firearm, which will be served consecutively.