AN ARMED man tried to provoke police into shooting him dead, the Isle of Wight Crown Court heard on Friday (8).

David Luke Soppitt, 46, held a gun to his partner's face outside their home at Forest Way, Winford, in the early hours of October 4, 2018, then turned the gun towards the police, who disarmed him with two baton rounds.

Soppitt pleaded guilty to possession of a firearm with intent to cause fear or violence and was sentenced to 32 months in prison.

Roderick Blain, prosecuting, said Soppitt had argued with his partner and went to a friend's house, where he said he wanted to kill himself. The friend phoned the police with her concerns, and the police phoned Soppitt, but he said he had a gun and would start shooting.

From his car he phoned his neighbours and said he had a gun. They phoned Soppitt's partner to warn her, but she went out to see him.

Mr Blain said: "He held the gun up to her face, virtually touching her nose. Understandably, she froze. She could see his finger on the trigger. He was looking directly at her but without any emotion in his features."

When the firearms officers arrived, they repeatedly told Soppitt to put the gun down. He responded: "Do it, do it, shoot me," and got closer.

Police fired a first round which had no effect, and Soppitt raised his gun. They fired again and were able to recover the weapon, a soft air — or BB — gun, capable of firing metal ball bearings.

David Richards, for Soppitt, said he had struggled with heroin addiction from 1991 to 2007 but had been clean since and sorted his life out. However, a series of recent events had conspired against him and his mental health had declined.

Mr Richards said: "He was the sole breadwinner but couldn't provide. He decided the only option was to take his own life. His intention was not to hurt anyone but himself, and no injury was caused.

"The police were well within their rights to shoot him with a live round, but they chose not to and saved his life."

Judge Roger Hetherington told Soppitt: "You tried to provoke police into a violent response, to provoke a possibly fatal result to you."