Gun-toting art student wreaked havoc in Dundee with imitation weapon

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An art student caused panic in Dundee city centre by firing an imitation gun and pointing it at members of the public.

Eli Murray sparked a major police incident after wandering around the busy Nethergate brandishing an air pistol and aiming it at a man on March 21.

The 25-year-old also fired it near a woman’s head on Perth Road, sparking multiple calls to the police control room.

Although the the device is classified as an imitation firearm, prosecutors said it had the appearance of a real one and would easily have been mistaken for such by the public.

Dundee Sheriff Court heard Murray, originally from London, had a history of mental illness and had missed most of this year’s studies at art college.

Fiscal depute Nicola Gillespie said: “At 2pm a member of the public got off the bus at Nethergate and saw the accused holding a blue bag, and he had what she thought was a gun, with his arm outstretched.

“He was waving it back and forth. People were shouting at him. She heard a member of the public say ‘that man just pointed a gun at me’.”

Around ten minutes later, two women were walking along Perth Road when one of them felt something go past her head.

She turned round and saw Murray holding the gun, and he then told her “it’s just pretend”, the court heard.

Ms Gillespie added: “This caused the ladies to become afraid and worried.

“He waved the gun around his head and fired it at a street sign.

“The control room received multiple calls and police officers told the accused to lie face down and place his hands behind his back, which he did.”

Defence solicitor Jim Caird said Murray was now being supported by his mother and was living with her in London.

He added: “Obviously this is a serious matter and frightening for people that were present.

“I must point out there was never a firearms unit that became involved. It must have been realised that it was pellets being fired rather than something more dangerous.

“He is really at a loss to explain why he behaved in this manner.”

Sheriff Alastair Carmichael deferred sentence on Murray, who pled guilty to a breach of the peace, until July 31 and he was remanded in custody.