Tan Hill Inn: Richard Bowser jailed over shooting at UK’s highest pub

Image source, North Yorkshire Police

Image caption,

Richard Bowser, 46, was jailed at Teesside Crown Court for 19 years

  • Author, David Spereall
  • Role, BBC News

A former tanning salon boss has been jailed for 19 years after he fired four shots through a bunk room door, leaving a bullet lodged in another man’s arm.

Richard Bowser injured holidaymaker Lee Jackson at the Tan Hill Inn near Reeth, North Yorkshire on 21 July.

The 46-year-old, who had also been involved in a bar room brawl on the night of the shooting, was cleared of two counts of attempted murder but found guilty of possessing a firearm with intent to endanger life and wounding with intent.

At a sentencing hearing at Teesside Crown Court, Bowser, of Worcester Place, Bishop Auckland, was told he would have to serve an additional four years on licence following his release.

During his trial jurors heard Bowser had assaulted bar manager Nichola Townsend, pushing and slapping her, after she had asked him to calm down when his bank card had been declined.

He then assaulted two men, Ryan Lockwood and Karl Pearson, when they tried to intervene.

Later that night, Mr Jackson approached the glamping pod where Bowser was staying and Bowser followed him to a nearby toilet where he put a gun to Mr Jackson’s head and pulled the trigger, but the gun did not go off.

When Mr Jackson ran to hide in a nearby guest room, Bowser then fired four shots at the door, one of which hit Mr Jackson in the arm.

Bowser pleaded guilty to three counts of assault and possessing prohibited weapons prior to the trial.

Image caption,

The attack happened at the Tan Hill Inn, in Swaledale, on 21 July last year.

In police interviews, Bowser told officers he had been carrying the weapons because he had had a long-running feud with a man, or gang, from his area which made him fear for his life.

Mitigating, defence barrister Alistair McDonald said the reason Bowser chose to holiday at the Tan Hill Inn was because it was “wholly away from the area where he feared attack”.

He said the stress of this feud, along with the closure of his tanning business following the Covid pandemic, had led to financial and other pressures which Bowser had been dealing with the time of the offences.

The court heard on Wednesday that Bowser had previous convictions for grievous bodily harm, carrying a machete, dangerous driving and driving under the influence of drink or drugs.

Passing sentencing, judge Howard Crowson condemned Bowser’s “indiscriminate” violence at the inn and said it was obvious his victim had posed no physical threat.

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