Man acquitted of gun threats in broad daylight on Sheffield estate

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A man who was accused of threatening a witness with a gun in broad daylight has been found not guilty.

Matthew Ward, aged 21, of Garland Croft, Westfield, said he had ‘never seen a gun in his life’ and was ‘shocked’ by the firearms accusation.

Complainant, Reza Afrasiabi said that Ward told him to ‘watch his back’ before showing him a gun inside his man bag on Shortbrook Drive, Westfield, on February 25.

But a jury at Sheffield Crown Court dismissed this claim in a one day trial.

Ward told the court that Mr Afrasiabi said hello in a ‘sarcastic manner and that it ‘riled him’.

Matthew Stanbury, for Ward, asked how the confrontation escalated.

Ward said: “It was a stupid, daft thing to react like I did but the way he said hello riled me up.

“We had a row and he kept laughing at me and kept calling me a white street rat.”

Mr Ward added that he ‘offered’ to fight the complainant on a nearby field after he made comments about his girlfriend.

The court heard how Ward was on bail in connection with another incident which allegedly occurred last September at the Bella Pizza store, where Mr Afrasiabi worked at the time of the alleged offence.

Mr Stanbury asked Mr Afrasiabi: “There was no gun was there? You were sick and tired of him coming into your shop and you exaggerated the confrontation to make sure that this time something happened.

The complainant denied that this was the case.

In his defence, Mr Ward told the court that he was shocked by the claim.

He said: “I’ve not even touched or seen a proper gun in my life, I’ve never had a gun.

“In my bag I had some tobacco, rizla, my keys, my girlfriends house keys and a doctor’s appointment.”

The court heard how Ward handed himself in to police saying he realised he had breached his bail conditions.

Ward added: “I walked in the police station thinking it was about the argument but when they said a firearms charge, I panicked and was in complete shock.”

Mr Stanbury told the court that after Mr Ward handed himself in, police searched five properties and didn’t find any gun.