'Loner' with gun who sparked estate evacuation refused court appeal
- Credit: METROPOLITAN POLICE
A "loner" whose possession of a gun and inert grenades prompted the evacuation of a Lowestoft estate has been refused permission to appeal his conviction and five year prison sentence.
Clinton Hicks sparked the evacuation of 60 homes when a search of his Normanshurst Close home by police and counter-terrorism officers found a revolver loaded with five blank rounds and two inert grenades, as well as a quantity of ball-bearings and chemicals.
Hicks was arrested following the raid at his home in July 2019, including on suspicion of being concerned in the commission, preparation and instigation of acts of terrorism.
Following an investigation by Counter Terrorism Command, no further action was taken in relation to the terrorism offence, while the then-59-year-old admitted the possession charge on what would have been the first day of his trial at Ipswich Crown Court in January 2020.
Appearing at the Court of Appeal on March 18, however, Hicks was refused leave to appeal both his conviction, and the sentence handed by the Suffolk court in April 2020.
At the time, Judge Emma Peters described Hicks as a "loner" and a “relatively strange man”, whose only friends were cats, but she found no reason to spare Hicks the minimum mandatory five-year sentence.
Hicks had claimed he suffered from PTSD after serving in a volunteer force in the Balkans in the early 1990s, although proof only existed that he served 10 months in the Territorial Army in the mid-1980s and had visited Zagreb in 1993 with a friend, who was disturbed by his interest in the far-right and desire to meet ‘neo-Nazis’.
Edward Renvoize, mitigating, said if Hicks had invented his account of fighting in Croatia, it would still indicate deep-rooted psychological issues, which, the report said, required therapeutic intervention.
He said Hicks had an interest in militaria since his “troubled” childhood, but no intention of using the gun for the commission of crime.
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Army Explosive Ordnance Disposal officers joined police and Suffolk Fire and Rescue teams at Normanshurst Close, with police acting on a pre-planned warrant shortly before 1pm on July 28, 2019.
Shocked and frightened nearby residents were unable to return to their homes until shortly before midnight, however, with an evacuation centre established at Waterlane Leisure Centre.