An ex-soldier suffering from post traumatic stress disorder has been jailed for two years in what was described as a “tragic” case.
Marc McLees was arrested after a stand-off with armed police for five hours at his home in Bridge Street, Leighton Buzzard, on February 5.
The 42-year-old, who appeared at Luton Crown Court via video link this morning for sentencing, had pleaded guilty to possessing an imitation gun with intent to cause fear of violence.
The court was told the former army man had suffered a “complete mental breakdown” after being unable to find a job and became homeless when his marriage ended; leaving him with low self-esteem.
Will Noble, defending, spoke of the issues that haunted McLees having left the army that were left “repressed and never resolved.”
Mr Noble said: “This is a tragic case. McLees is a 42-year-old man who acted completely out of character and had a complete mental breakdown.
“He describes an out of body experience in which he believed he was back in a war zone.
“February 5 was his birthday, but he is unable to say what triggered his behaviour that afternoon.”
McLees is said to have recognised a deterioration of his mental state in December 2012 and had sought help from PTSD Resolution; a charity that helps veterans struggling to integrate into normal life having suffered trauma during service in the armed forces.
Judge Richard Foster said he hoped McLees, who served as a soldier in Iraq, Afghanistan and Northern Ireland for 18 years, would take the help that is on offer to him from the Royal British Legion and PTSD Resolution.
The judge said: “You had an exemplary service record in the army.
“People must be grateful to you and you should be mighty proud.
“It is tragic for you to be here, stood before me now, in prison.
“There is no doubt you suffer from post traumatic stress disorder and for that you need help treating this serious psychological illness.
“I hope you will take that help and move forward in your life.”
McLees had previously denied an additional charge of communicating false information about a bomb hoax.
The judge sentenced McLees to two years imprisonment, but said he would be likely to serve half of that and could be out in early next year.