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Gun runner jailed for 14 years

James Rumley leaves Supreme Court after being found guilty of the importation of gun parts (Photograph by Owain Johnston-Barnes)

A man who tried to mail gun parts to the island in a series of packages was yesterday jailed for 14 years.

James Rumley, 39, was found guilty last month of three counts of importation of firearm components last year by a unanimous verdict.

Puisne Judge Juan Wolffe told the court a “crystal clear” message had to be sent to people tempted to smuggle weapons.

He said: “Over the past ten years firearm offences have become prevalent, but it's not just the prevalence of these offences that is concerning, it’s the types of offences that are extremely disturbing.”

Cindy Clarke, the Director of Public Prosecutions, asked for a sentence of between 14 and 15 years.

She argued the minimum sentence of 12 years should not become the “standard sentence imposed on all but the very worst offenders” and that Rumley’s case deserved a heavier penalty.

Ms Clarke said: “If pleading guilty gets you the mandatory minimum, it’s not fair for someone who pleads not guilty to get the same sentence.

“We don’t have any exceptional circumstances. We shouldn’t be considering anything less than the minimum.”

She argued that the gun parts recovered were enough to create a firearm and most of a second.

Ms Clarke said that a fourth package with the remaining part of a second weapon may have been missed.

She added that the serial numbers had been removed from the gun parts, which were hidden in “seemingly innocuous packaging”.

Ms Clarke said that, because there was no lawful use for the parts, Rumley either intended them to be used for a criminal purpose or was “reckless” about how they would be used.

But Victoria Greening, who appeared for Rumley, asked for a sentence at or below the minimum.

She said Rumley’s lack of previous convictions should be taken into account and that firearm parts should carry a lesser penalty than a complete weapon.

Ms Greening said: “Distinctions must be made between a firearm in its entirety that is loaded and dangerous and gun parts which, in and of themselves, are useless.”

Rumley – who maintained his innocence throughout his Supreme Court trial – declined to address the court on his sentence.

Mr Justice Wolffe sentenced Rumley to 14 years for each of the three offences, but ordered them to run concurrently.

He added that he would release written reasons for the sentence at a later date.

The court heard earlier that Customs officers discovered the gun parts hidden in three packages mailed from Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania to Bermuda in June and October last year.

None of the packages listed Rumley as the sender, but he was seen on CCTV at FedEx when all three were sent.

One of the packages was addressed to someone Rumley went to school with, another to the mother of Rumley’s child and the third to Rumley’s home address.

Rumley admitted that he had been involved in the postage of all three packages, but denied any knowledge of the gun parts.

He told the court he was hired through an online delivery service to take the first package – and a customer – to FedEx and had no other connection to it.

Rumley said he mailed the second two packages days before he flew back to Bermuda because his luggage was full, but had no idea how the gun parts came to be inside.