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Tuesday, 19 February, 2002, 13:13 GMT
Gun-wielding 'show off' is jailed
The flare gun was pointed at a taxi driver
A Rolls-Royce driver who frightened a London cabbie with a pistol has been jailed for four months.

Businessman Oliver Larholt, 30, used his grandfather's old service flare gun to terrify cab driver David Pengelly while out with friends.

Judge David Stokes told him the incident had been "arrogant, nasty and frightening, I do not know what got into you although I suppose showing off to your friends had a good deal to do with it."

Larholt was sentenced at the Old Bailey for possessing a one inch British service flare pistol with intent to cause fear of violence, a charge he denied.

I was nervous, frightened. It has never happened to me before

Cabbie, David Pengelly

Mr Pengelly had been flagged down outside the Ritz Club in Piccadilly, central London, to take Dutch actress Mirjam Hoogendyk to Portland Square.

But just outside the American Embassy in Grosvenor Square, Larholt's Rolls-Royce forced him to swerve out of the way and he mounted the kerb as they approached a traffic island.

At traffic lights near Oxford Street, Mr Pengelly found himself side by side with the Rolls.

Russian Mafia

Mr Pengelly said: "The driver reached to the compartment and pulled out a yellow cloth.

"He unwrapped it and there was a gun. He held it pointing towards the front of his windscreen. He said something to the people in the back and he looked at me with a smile.

"I was nervous, frightened. It has never happened to me before," said the cabbie.

The actress, who has been in Holland's top television soap, Good Times Bad Times, for two years, had told the Old Bailey she had believed it was the Russian mafia.

Huge mistake

Larholt, an IT expert and Leeds University graduate, said the gun had been in his glove compartment for months following a fancy dress party and he had been horsing around with his friends.

He added: "It was a very stupid joke. It was a very irresponsible joke. I would never intentionally threaten anybody."

Judge Stokes said: "The use of firearms and imitation firearms is increasing and the fact that such an offence is committed by a man such as yourself is no reason for taking an exceptional course."

Nicholas Price, QC, defending, told the court Larholt accepted what he had done was "totally irresponsible - the biggest mistake of his life".


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