Man headed straight to toilet after pulling 'gun' from his trousers

Michael Costello outside Liverpool Crown Court
Michael Costello outside Liverpool Crown Court -Credit:Liverpool Echo

A man fled to the toilet of his ex-girlfriend's home in a taxi after he was spotted by firefighters brandishing a toy gun outside a pub.

Michael Costello pulled the imitation firearm from his trousers during an altercation at the Western Approaches pub in Croxteth. He was then whisked away in a taxi, telling the driver that he was "strapped" before ditching the fake weapon in his former partner's bathroom.

Liverpool Crown Court heard this afternoon, Monday, that fire crews were returning to Croxteth Fire Station on Storrington Avenue shortly before 8.30pm on May 21 last year following a callout. But, as they made their way along Lower House Lane en route, the driver heard shouting outside the pub and saw Costello "waving his arms about in the air" then "messing about with something in the waistband of his trousers" which he believed to be a firearm.

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Henry Riding, prosecuting, described how the 35-year-old, of Knighton Road in Walton, began pointing this item towards the entrance of the premises before heading inside. But he left again shortly afterwards, triggering a vehicle to "speed off at an alarming speed".

Costello was then tailed by members of the fire service as he entered a taxi, which took him to his ex's house a short distance away. Armed police subsequently arrested him as he left the address and discovered a plastic gun and a BB gun in the downstairs toilet.

The occupant's 12-year-old son reported that he had seen the defendant enter the bathroom and leave the toy inside. The taxi driver later told officers that Costello had confessed to him that he had been "arguing with some male who did not know he was strapped" then "began tapping his side".

Under interview, he gave a prepared statement to detectives alleging that he had in fact been carrying a bottle of rum which he had "taken to consume at the pub". His previous convictions include a recent community order for affray and possession of an offensive weapon.

Kate Morley, defending, told the court: "He genuinely regrets his actions. He was in a particularly poor mental state at the time.

"He was sectioned twice under the Mental Health Act last year. He is in a much improved mental state.

"He cannot quite recall it because of his mental state at the time. He was all over the place mentally.

"He was in a bad place. He bitterly regrets his actions."

Michael Costello outside Liverpool Crown Court
Michael Costello outside Liverpool Crown Court -Credit:Liverpool Echo

Costello admitted carrying an imitation firearm in a public place. He was handed a five-month imprisonment suspended for a year, a rehabilitation activity requirement of up to 20 days and a programme requirement.

Sentencing, the Honorary Recorder of Liverpool Judge Andrew Menary KC said: "I have no doubt that you did have something in your hand, something which looked like a black handgun. What that was all about, I cannot know.

"You have not revealed what it was about. You accepted that you did have a toy gun, but found it in the gutter by chance that night.

"I reject this explanation. The fact of the matter is that, for whatever reason, that night you saw the opportunity to pick up an item that looked like a handgun, intending that people believed that it was a handgun.

"You must realise how close you have come to a more serious charge. You have struggled with your mental health in recent times.

"I am satisfied that you would benefit from some support from the probation service. You are a carer for your mother, and you have your own health issues.

"I hope that you can put this matter behind you now."

Costello replied: "Cheers, your honour."

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