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Last Updated: Wednesday, 4 May 2005, 13:52 GMT 14:52 UK
Judges release pellet gun teacher
Linda Walker
Linda Walker said the youths had terrorised her family
Teacher Linda Walker, who was jailed for firing a pellet gun during a row with youths, has been freed by the Court of Appeal.

Three judges gave her a conditional discharge but refused her permission to challenge her convictions.

The 48-year-old, from Urmston, Greater Manchester, was jailed for six months after she was convicted of affray and possessing a firearm on 29 March.

She said she fired the gun after the youths had terrorised her family.

Her trial was told she had received nuisance phone calls abusing her family, her garden shed had been broken into, and a car and her garden had been vandalised.

What she did was wrong, but so was the sentence
Norman Brennan, Victims of Crime Trust

But no evidence was produced that any of the youths she confronted were involved in the vandalism.

Walker had sought to use fresh evidence from a milkman, David Matthews, that one of the youths had been seen on her property in Hollyhouse Drive.

But the judges said the evidence did not relate to what happened on the day she confronted the youths.

She now faces uncertainty over her job as a special needs teacher.

A spokesman for Salford City Council said: "Linda Walker was suspended from her teaching post pending this police investigation and court action.

Decision welcomed

"Now legal proceedings are ended, this formal disciplinary action can also be concluded. This will be completed as quickly as possible."

Norman Brennan, director of the Victims of Crime Trust welcomed the court's decision to free Walker.

He said: "What she did was wrong, but so was the sentence.

"If the criminal justice system continues to fail to protect the public and victims of crime, I predict that more and more people will look to taking the law into their own hands and that is anarchy."

He added: "I urge police chiefs to ensure that more officers are put on the beat and that effective action is taken against offenders when victims report crime."

A spokeswoman for Greater Manchester Police said the decision was a "matter for the judiciary".

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