He shot Mr Tilbury while attempting to show civilian recruits how the chamber spins in a Magnum made famous by Clint Eastwood.Wha...?
When he reached into a Quality Street tin Thames Valley's armourers used to keep assorted ammunition, he grabbed a live round.
They kept their bullets - mixed ammunition, at that - in a 'Quality Street' tin!?
Mind you, I do feel for Mr Mickelthwaite. Many's the time I've dipped a hand in a tin to fish for a delicious Toffy Penny, only to come up with that horrible red Strawberry Delight, or, even worse *shudder* the purple Brazil Nut...
But hold up. I need to check something. Am I reading 'The Daily Mash'?
Nope, it's the 'Mail'. And that's not even the best part:
Prosecutor Richard Matthews told Southwark Crown Court that Micklethwaite had failed part of a firearms instructor course organised by the Metropolitan Police.Now, this is just the prosecution on H&S grounds, not a damages hearing (and I'm not sure why they are even still sitting - isn't this enough?), but if Mr Tilbury has hired lawyers to sue for damages, then they've started whooping and jumping around the room high-fiving each other, before diving for the nearest computer to look up the current Ferrari model and how quickly they could get eight of them delivered.
But after considering the matter, Thames Valley Police put the failure down to a procedural difference between the two forces.
'It was felt that if he underwent a development plan, he would pass the course,' the prosecutor said.
But when the certificate was eventually issued, Micklethwaite had not taken any development course.
In fact, it's safe to say that if this case were being heard in America, where juries tend to go in for punitive sums, Mr Tilbury would already own Thames Valley Police. All of them...
Mr Matthews said that when interviewed the constable was asked about the Met firearms training course and insisted he 'thought he had passed'.Really? I'd have thought only one was needed, actually.
He also told officers there were a 'million and one reasons' why he thought he was handling blank ammunition.
The fact that he's about as well qualified to handle firearms as my cat...
It's a shame Mr Tilbury has never returned to work (though unsurprising) because he showed a hell of a lot more sense with regard to guns:
Mr Tilbury, a former electronic defence industry worker who had shot in the Berkshire County rifle team, later told investigators he saw Micklethwaite aiming the weapon at him.I'm beginning to wonder if there's a rule for handling firearms that Micklethwaite hasn't broken...
He said: 'I was not happy, because it was drilled into us to never, ever point a gun at someone.'
In a statement read to the court, Micklethwaite, who had been a Thames Valley officer for 30 years, issued a 'heartfelt apology' to Mr Tilbury.I think it's safe to say EPIC, MONUMENTAL FAIL! on that score, Mr Micklethwaite...
He said: 'My intentions on the day were to give the best possible presentation to the class.'
But Thames Valley are, despite it all, hanging their hat on the 'Not me, guv, I wasn't to know' defence:
Katerina McAteer, for Thames Valley police, denied the instructor had not been adequately trained.Katy, love, sweetie, darling, it's all over...he kept mixed ammunition in an old Quality Street tin.
She said while it was 'absolutely accepted' the force had been informed of the need for Micklethwaite to undergo a development programme and had not 'fully documented' what was required, 'this is not a case that the two competencies left hanging in the air weren't addressed'.
In fact the officer had undergone an 'extremely detailed period of training and assessment.
'As far as Thames Valley were concerned he was bona fide and safe and there was nothing to indicate otherwise. So it is not a case that he was let loose on members of the public.'
And your force knew it. Let me repeat that for you - mixed ammunition in an old Quality Street tin!
Not even the relatively vastly safer option of an old two tier Black Magic box, where at least he could have seperated the live ammunition from the dummy ammunition with the trays...
The judge will pass sentence on Thursday. I imagine it'll take him that long to compose himself.