A man launched a late-night BB gun attack on a couple after spotting them outside Zizzi in Haywards Heath.
The scary incident began when Benjamin Taylor-Baker pulled up outside the restaurant just before 10pm on July 26, 2018 and started shouting at a woman in her car.
Taylor-Baker, 23, of St Francis Close, pleaded guilty to affray and breaching a suspended sentence and appeared at Hove Crown Court for sentencing yesterday afternoon.
Prosecutor Charlotte Morrish said: “She knew this defendant because she used to be in a relationship with one of the defendant’s friends.”
She told the court that the woman was parked up outside Zizzi waiting for her boyfriend to finish work.
“Someone shouted at her. The defendant then got out [of his car] and walked toward her car.”
'Come outside here, we will fight'
At this point Taylor-Baker spotted her boyfriend and confronted him, saying ‘come outside here, we will fight’.
She got out of the car and told Taylor-Baker to leave him alone, the court heard.
The pair managed to get back to their car and Taylor-Baker walked away, but the incident did not end there.
Defendant pulls out a BB gun and starts firing
The prosecutor added: “The defendant went to his car and then got out what the victims saw was a BB gun which he then aimed first at the woman.”
Taylor-Baker started firing but she was able to get into the car.
“She heard the pellets pinging off her car.”
Taylor-Baker then started firing in the direction of her boyfriend, the court heard.
Eventually he got back into his car and left.
The police were called by members of the public who witnessed the attack and Taylor-Baker was arrested at his home.
Plea for a suspended sentence
Defence barrister Gregory Fishwick acknowledged that this was a ‘serious case’ and the custody threshold was passed.
However he added: “He is someone who is lightly convicted.
“He has been seeking help for his mental health difficulties.
“I ask on his behalf that sentence be suspended today.”
Judge: I must carry out my duty to the public
Judge Jeremy Gold QC said: “I am afraid I would be failing in my public duty if I were not to make it clear that incidents of this kind must result in an immediate custodial sentence.”
Taylor-Baker was jailed for nine months for the affray.
An additional eight weeks was added to the jail term for the breach of the suspended sentence.