A drunk former Navy serviceman used two shotguns to threaten a fellow guest after a birthday party, firing one inches from the man's face.

The terrifying incident came after a party at a neighbour's house in the Eden Valley village of Maulds Meaburn on July 12 last year, Carlisle Crown Court heard. Malcolm Newby, 52, who served on HMS Invincible during the Gulf War, admitted two counts of possessing a firearm with intent to cause fear of violence.

He was jailed for three years and nine months.

The court heard how Newby had been the life and soul of the party, organising games; but he also became increasingly drunk during the evening. But during an argument he threw a child's wooden play brick at his wife.

The prompted somebody to ask him to leave the party.

Callum Gill, the brother of his neighbour and less drunk than other party goers, tried to defuse the situation after a minor disagreement and followed Newby to his home, suggesting he call it a night. It was as he comforted Newby's distressed daughter in the porch with a hug that the defendant appeared with his two legally owned shotguns.

With his finger on both triggers, Newby pointed one gun at the victim's neck and the other at his body. As Mr Gill grabbed the barrels of both guns, there was a struggle and one of the guns went off, the blast going into the ceiling. Mr Gill overpowered Newby.

Kim Whittlestone, for Newby, said he was under pressure in his job as a manager at Ceter Parcs, where he was helping staff return to work after the Covid-19 crisis. Some had lost family members. She handed in more than a dozen character references.

Jailing the defendant, the judge told him: "You could in your drunken state so easily and unintentionally pulled the trigger and killed, or at the very least, gravely injured Callum Gill, who was doing nothing other than trying to keep the peace. The offence is also aggravated by your taking a very substantial amount of alcohol."

But the judged noted the "exceptional" emotional pressure the defendant faced at work.

Though he noted the remorse shown by the defendant, the judge said his actions had been "reckless and impulsive"."These offences are so serious that only a substantial custodial sentence is appropriate," said the judge.