[an error occurred while processing this directive]
BBC News
Launch consoleBBC News in video and audio
Last Updated: Thursday, 16 November 2006, 17:36 GMT
Singer guilty of hotel gun threat
Meic Stevens
Meic Stevens has been a Welsh folk scene fixture since the 1960s
Folk singer Meic Stevens has been fined 500 for threatening to shoot a Pembrokeshire hotel manager when she refused him another drink.

A police armed response unit was called and an air pistol recovered from the room at the Old Cross Hotel in St David's where he was staying.

Duty manager Victoria Skeats told Haverfordwest magistrates Mr Stevens had also used offensive language.

Stevens, 64, of Cardiff, denied a charge of using threatening behaviour.

Ms Skeats told the hearing that on the evening of 5 March Stevens - a fixture on the Welsh language folk music scene since the 1960s - was dining in the hotel restaurant.

He called me a racist and said I was finished in Pembrokeshire
Victoria Skeats

When he finished his meal, he moved to the bar area and Ms Skeats told him she would not serve him any more alcohol.

She said he "snapped" and was drunk and using offensive language.

"He called me a racist and said I was finished in Pembrokeshire," Ms Skeats said.

"He said he was going to blow my brains out with a gun he had upstairs. I was absolutely terrified - I was just sick to my stomach."

During cross-examination, Wyn Rees, defending, put it to her that she had said to Mr Stevens: "Why are all you Welshies racist?"

'Relaxing meal'

He put it to her that it had just been a row between the two of them and she was never threatened with a gun. She denied both claims.

Taking to the witness stand himself, Stevens said he had been in his native Pembrokeshire on holiday and had enjoyed a relaxing meal when Ms Skeats insulted him.

"She was very aggressive. I just thought she was a weirdo," he said.

"I was really angry. A girl was having a go at me. I probably did swear at her, but I never threatened to shoot her. It's crazy."

He said he and his girlfriend then went upstairs only to be awoken in the early hours.

"A voice said 'this is Sergeant Kelly, Dyfed-Powys Police. The hotel is surrounded by armed police'," he said.

They (police) charged in, one had a shield. Two had pistols, one had a pistol against my head and the other pointed it at my heart
Meic Stevens

"I just thought it was a joke."

He said following a second conversation with the police negotiator, officers burst into his room.

"They charged in, one had a shield. Two had pistols, one had a pistol against my head and the other pointed it at my heart."

Stevens was handcuffed and taken to Haverfordwest Police Station for questioning.

The singer told the court that a gas-operated Walther air pistol found in his room belonged to his son who had been using it during the holiday.

Under cross-examination he said the case against him was "a pack of lies, concocted by the police with the witnesses".

"I think the whole thing is disgusting. I just feel I'm being stitched up," he said.

Magistrates also heard from Gwilym Roberts, a holidaymaker who called at the hotel with his wife. He said he witnessed Mr Stevens' gun threats.

He said he became so alarmed that he, his wife and Ms Skeats locked themselves in the bar when Mr Stevens went upstairs and waited for police.

Magistrates, who also ordered Stevens to pay 420 prosecution costs, were told that the singer was "riddled with arthritis" so could not do any community work.


RELATED BBC LINKS



FEATURES, VIEWS, ANALYSIS
Has China's housing bubble burst?
How the world's oldest clove tree defied an empire
Why Royal Ballet principal Sergei Polunin quit

PRODUCTS & SERVICES

Americas Africa Europe Middle East South Asia Asia Pacific