MAN DENIES 'OBSESSION WITH GUNS'
11:00 - 06 November 2007
A torquay bus driver has denied lying about a collection of illegal firearms found at his home to avoid the consequences of being caught with them.Giving evidence at Exeter Crown Court, 53-year-old Jeremy Couchman refuted a prosecution claim that he was going 'to play with the guns and ammunition'.
Couchman, of Tor Church Road, Torquay, has pleaded not guilty to 11 charges of possessing prohibited weapons, four of possessing replica guns without a firearms certificate and one of possessing a 12-bore double-barrelled shotgun without a certificate.
He also denies purchasing or acquiring 50 rounds of live ammunition without a certificate and the alternative charge of attempting to purchase or acquire that ammunition.
"You don't play with live ammunition and guns, they are not toys," Couchman told the jury.
"I was never going to fire any of them. I have never been interested in firing them. If I had been I would have joined a gun club. I was just a collector. I have no interest in harming anyone."
"You are telling lies to escape the consequences," suggested prosecutor Jonathan Barnes.
"I am not lying. All these items went through Customs," replied Couchman.
He told the jury he believed everything he purchased from an American website, run by a Queen's Counsel turned arms dealer, was an antique and was over 100 years old.
Referring to the box of 50 .410 rim fire ammunition seized by Customs which led to the police raid on his home, Couchman said he thought the ammunition was dud because it was obsolete.
"I was trying to buy the box. I am not stupid, I would not order live ammunition and I was aware that I could not buy live ammunition. I would have been surprised if it had been delivered to my door.
"I am not obsessed, I am just a collector. All the guns were on display except one which I was experimenting with and I panicked because I could not get the ammunition out of it," he said.
"You knew full well you should not have the weapons," suggested Mr Barnes. "No, I ordered them as antiques and that was why they were on display," said Couchman.
The court has heard that when police raided his home, they found a large cache of illegal guns and others that required firearms certificates. Couchman has said he had a passion for the American Civil War and the Wild West, and far from being a gun expert, he was just a collector of memorabilia. The trial continues.