Michael Williams, aged 63, of Exeter Drive, Broomhall, Sheffield, fired the air pistol from his home towards the neighbour before he returned and pointed another air rifle at her, Sheffield Crown Court heard.
Judge Graham Reeds QC told Williams: “You took a shot at a neighbour who was doing nothing more than cutting the grass in the neighbourhood.”
Prosecuting barrister Tom Jackson told the hearing on December 16 the neighbour had been with her sister mowing the communal lawn outside the block of flats when Williams demanded that she leave his grass alone.
The neighbour claimed it was not Williams’ grass, according to Mr Jackson, before the defendant returned and fired an air pistol in her direction, leaving a pellet hole in the petrol-powered lawnmower. He then returned again and pointing an air rifle towards her.
Mr Jackson said: “He said, ‘watch this’, and returned with a black air pistol with a long single barrel and fired one single shot and she feared for her safety and did not know how close she got to being hit.”
Williams told police he had been watching a film and he had drunk four bottles of strong cider, a third of a bottle of vodka and half a bottle of whiskey, and he had had enough of the noise from the lawnmower.
The neighbour stated she was terrified by the incident and she has been left living in fear and now feels like a prisoner in her own home.
She added that she had been mowing the communal lawn for many years but has since stopped due to the defendant’s actions.
Her sister also stated that she thought her sister had been killed during the shooting and she has been haunted with visions of her being found dead and having to tell their family.
Williams, who has 39 previous convictions including weapons offences, pleaded guilty to two offences of possessing an imitation firearm with intent to cause fear in relation to the air pistol and the air rifle after the incident on April 24.
The defendant admitted the offences on the basis that only the air pistol had been discharged and the air rifle had only made a popping sound due to air pressure.
Tim Gaubert, defending, said Williams, who has respiratory and health problems including alcohol issues, has apologised and accepts what he did was extremely stupid.
Mr Gaubert added: “It was a deeply unpleasant incident that must have caused significant distress to those involved.”
Judge Reeds considered Williams’ poor health, the Covid-19 risks in prison and the fact the defendant had not been in trouble for some years, before sentencing him to 18 months of custody.
He told Williams: “Appropriate punishment for shooting an imitation firearm at a neighbour who was simply going about her business and was very frightened by what you did can only be achieved by immediate custody.”