Nicholas Antonio McGregor
From the Press (Christchurch) March 7th 2003
Teenager Nicholas Antonio McGregor is looking down the barrel of a four-year non-parole period, after he shot-up central Christchurch in a drunken rampage with a heavy-calibre rifle. Sentencing McGregor to a total of 7 years six months jail, Christchurch District Court Judge Graeme Noble described McGregor's kidnapping and shooting rampage with a . 308 rifle as "a quite appalling incident", adding that it was "every decent person's nightmare."
On April 18 last year, McGregor, 18, liquored up on bourbon, and only two weeks out of jail, broke into a parked car where he found the rifle and ammunition. He then held up a young man driving his own car and forced him to take his group of companions on a tour of central Christchurch, firing the rifle indiscriminately and threatening to kill the young driver.
"He genuinely thought he was going to die. He might well have. Indeed, you fired a shot through the roof of the car," the judge said. "There was a very high danger to the life of the complainant, and a substantial danger to members of the public. "McGregor had admitted two counts of unlawful taking, theft, recklessly discharging a firearm, committing a crime with a firearm, and kidnapping, the latter charge carrying a maximum penalty of 14 years.
McGregor's counsel, Colin Eason, said drinking had been the background to the sad incident, although it was not an excuse. McGregor now had little recollection of what happened, and it was clear at least on part of the journey, he treated his group of companions in the same way as the complainant, and threatened them. McGregor had a sad, almost tragic background, and from his early teenage years had been without parental care, Mr Eason said.
Prosecutor Pip Currie said the ordeal had lasted up to an hour. The crimes had had a devastating effect on the kidnap victim, she said. McGregor had been assessed by probation as having a high risk of re- offending. Judge Noble said after taking the rifle, McGregor had fired several shots while on foot in the city centre, including in Cathedral Square, while a cultural festival was in progress. He had fired a shot at the clock tower in the Square.
After forcing the young driver at gunpoint to give up his car, at one stage he had driven the vehicle himself. Police had arrived and he drew the inference McGregor had given himself up without further trouble. The victim impact report showed the victim thought he was going to die. Now he did not feel safe and had recurrent nightmares. He accepted McGregor had a tragic background, but he had more than 50 previous matters on his record and must have repeatedly been offered chances for rehabilitation.
He had written to the court in mitigation, expressing remorse, but the Probation Service said he lacked victim empathy, and he preferred probation's version, the judge said. Aggravating was the prolonged and terrifying ordeal of the kidnap victim, the substantial effects on him, and the high potential for danger. McGregor was also disqualified from driving for five years.
Date of Birth
Gunpoint kidnap of a Christchurch man and recklessly fired shots in public in April 2002
A string of convictions for assault, recidivistic drink driving, disorderly behaviour, driving while disqualified, giving false details, unlawful taking and theft
Three Strikes Status
Sentenced to 7 and a half years with a 4 year non parole period in March 2003
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OFFENCES / CONVICTIONS
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