A man who sparked an armed offenders squad call-out and helicopter search after making threats with an imitation rifle in Martinborough has been sentenced to home detention.
In Masterton District Court, Reuben Kelvin Flutey, 23, was sentenced to two and a half months' home detention for threatening to kill, unlawfully carrying an imitation firearm, burglary and intentional damage.
Flutey had previously admitted all four charges, two of which relate to an unconnected incident in Martinborough on May 15.
Judge Barbara Morris said the victim Flutey had pointed the imitation rifle at "must have been fearing very much for his life" and had yelled "he's going to shoot me".
"The children could see you pointing the firearm at their father."
On March 28 Flutey had driven to the victim's home to confront him about threats made against Flutey's sister.
Once outside the Cologne St house, Flutey pulled the imitation rifle out of his car and pointed it at the victim.
When Flutey's father, who lived next door, stepped in Flutey pointed the imitation gun at him too, saying "I don't care. I'll shoot you just to get him."
The victim's partner ran inside to call police.
The victim's children could see the imitation gun being pointed at their father from the living room deck.
By the time police arrived, Flutely had fled the scene but was seen by a witness driving towards the town square holding the rifle out the window.
Flutey continued to avoid police, but was seen by an unmarked police car driving at speeds of up to 130km/h and passing three cars at a time as he fled down Ponatahi Rd.
The armed offenders squad and a helicopter were dispatched from Wellington to help in the search, but Flutey avoided detection for the rest of the night, turning himself in to Masterton police the next day.
In explanation Flutey told police: "I wanted to threaten him. I wanted him to believe it was a real gun."
During an unrelated incident for which he was also sentenced yesterday, Flutey broke into a house in Martinborough while on bail and smashed a window.
Lawyer Frank Minehan said the second incident was a result of Flutey and some family members "taking the law into their own hands" after a fight at a pub.
Flutey and his companions had been seriously assaulted and robbed, and had been "seeking redress" by breaking into the victim's house on White Rock Rd, Mr Minehan said.
The two incidents were not fuelled by alcohol but by "anger management" issues which needed to be addressed by his client, he said.
Flutey had been remanded in custody for 25 days since the second set of offending.
"He hasn't been in custody before and has certainly learnt a lot from that experience," Mr Minehan said.
Judge Morris said the second incident in May was a "vigilante action", where one of Flutey's companions was alleged to have punched the victim in the face.
The victim, who was not one of the men involved in the pub fight, lay on the ground and screamed for help, Judge Morris said.
Flutey had smashed a window and ran through the house looking for those involved in the pub fight before leaving a phone number with the victim, so those involved in the fight could get in touch.
Judge Morris said with a record which included previous assaults, any further offending of this nature would result in imprisonment.
"This is your opportunity to take stock of where you are going and where you want to go in the future. I take into account that you are trying to change a lifestyle that has led you down this path. It is not an easy thing to do, but I take it into account."