Man made gun threat to woman he met on dating site

The High Court in Edinburgh. File picture: Ian Georgeson
The High Court in Edinburgh. File picture: Ian Georgeson
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A MAN who put a gun to a woman’s head and threatened to shoot her within weeks of contacting her through an online dating site has been jailed for more than four years.

Kenneth Ellis left his 40-year-old victim fearing that she was going to die, thinking: “I am never going to get out of here.”

She managed to make a 999 call warning that Ellis had a gun and when police arrived they found her standing in the middle of the road shaking uncontrollably.

Ellis, 44, also subjected another woman to harassment, turning up at her home and repeatedly sending her text messages and phoning her.

A judge told him at the High Court in Edinburgh: “You have pled guilty to two offences involving behaviour of a controlling and demanding nature towards two separate women.”

Lord Turnbull told Ellis: “It seems to me appropriate that a custodial sentence is imposed in respect of the present matters.”

He jailed Ellis for three years and nine months for the incident involving the gun and a further four months and 15 days for the offence against the other woman.

Ellis had earlier admitted abducting and assaulting a woman at his home in Telford Drive, Craigleith, Edinburgh on August 6 and 7 last year by seizing hold of her, repeatedly threatening to shoot her, pressing a gun against her head, placing her in a state of fear that she was about to die and locking her in the house.

He had also originally faced an allegation of raping her, but that was deleted under the terms of the plea.

Unemployed Ellis also admitted engaging in a course of conduct between March 2014 and August last year at addresses in Edinburgh which caused another 28-year-old woman fear or alarm by repeatedly texting, phoning and attending at her home uninvited.

Advocate depute Angela Gray said that Ellis and the older woman had contacted each other through a dating website about three weeks prior to the gun incident. Within a fortnight they met up and began a relationship.

During the evening of August 6 she had been visiting Ellis who became upset. Ellis claimed that he was going to get a woman shot and that he had “got people to dig their own grave and then shot them”.

The woman started to feel concerned and went through to a bedroom. Ellis was pacing about the flat and according to the victim “smashing the place up”.

The victim felt terrified and started to pack her bags and told him that she just wanted to go home until things calmed down.

Ellis grabbed her by the arms and told her: “You’re going f---ing nowhere because I’ll shoot you first. You’re no leaving me. If I let you out that door you’ll no come back.”

The woman managed to get to the front door but found it locked. She got the keys and tried to open the door but was shaking and could not unlock it.

The prosecutor said: “The accused shouted ‘Where do you think you are going. I am going to f---ing shoot you’.”

“When the victim turned around she saw the accused was holding a gun, which he was pointing directly at her. The victim describes it as a ‘small handgun’. The accused pressed the gun against the victim’s forehead and at that moment she thought she was going to die,” said Ms Gray.

She pleaded with him and tried to unlock the door, but Ellis grabbed the keys from her and threw them down the hall.

Ellis phoned a friend and said he was “f---ing raging” but then went into a bedroom and the woman took her chance to make a 999 call.

He told her: “If you phoned the f---ing police you’ll be dead before they get here.” The woman claimed that she was calling her son.

Ellis returned to the room and threw the keys on the floor and told her if she wanted to go she could. The woman got out of the house and sought refuge in her car and watched him walk out of the street.

Police later recovered a gun, that was capable of firing plastic ball bearings, from the flat.

Ms Gray said the woman was terrified of Ellis and suffered nightmares and flashbacks.

Defence solicitor advocate Leanne McQuillan said: “He fully appreciates a custodial sentence is inevitable.”