A MILITARY expert has been jailed for five years after police investigating a long-running harassment campaign discovered a cache of arms at his remote North Yorkshire home.
Kenneth Ward, 64, of Appletree Hurst Cottage, in Chop Gate, admitted to officers he had exposed himself to a woman “two or three times a week” over a seven year period in an effort to drive her out of her home.
When police went to his isolated property in July, they discovered grenades, machine guns, bayonets and ammunition.
Ward, an expert on World War Two aircraft who ran a makeshift museum from his property, kept a loaded Luger pistol under the pillow on his bed.
He was jailed for five years at Teesside Crown Court yesterday after admitting harassment, 11 counts of exposure, three counts of possessing a prohibited firearm and other firearms offences.
Judge Peter Armstrong said police found “a veritable arsenal of weapons” when they searched the home where Ward’s ancestors have lived since 1640.
As well the Luger, officers recovered a Walther PP pistol and ammunition for them.
Richard Bennett, prosecuting, said that officers went to the cottage after his victim complained about an air rifle being fired but were stunned to discover what else was there.
“What in fact the officer found merited the attendance of a number of firearms officers and a unit of the RAF bomb disposal team,” he told the court.
“The area was sealed off whilst a systematic search for firearms and explosives took place. The firearms officer had been confronted by the discovery of a number of machine guns, aircraft cannon, rifles, pistols, flare guns and a large quantity of ammunition.
“A quantity of cordite explosive was destroyed by the bomb disposal squad together with what were described as training bombs.
A large number of bayonets and military knives were also recovered. It was evident that the defendant had amassed a substantial collection of World War aircraft parts and antique militaria.”
Mr Bennett said experts discovered the majority of the weapons were genuine but deactivated, however some were illegally held in working order.
After his arrest, Ward admitted harassing the woman by walking naked on to her property and committing a sex act while he watched her through binoculars.
For seven years he committed sex acts so she would see him, in a campaign to drive her from her home. He would even climb ladders with his trousers and pants down and expose himself to her over her garden wall.
Judge Armstrong accepted testimonials from 24 people who acknowledged Ward’s military expertise and neighbourliness, adding if they had seen the video evidence of him exposing himself to his victim, “I am quite sure they would not have written the references they did”.
The judge branded the defendant a “Jekyll and Hyde character”, and said that while Ward was highly regarded by some, his behaviour towards his victim was “appalling”.
His victim was present to see the sentencing and was considering legal action against North Yorkshire Police which, it was said in court, failed to take her complaints seriously for years.
Ward was subject to a restraining order to keep him away from his victim and a Sexual Offences Prevention Order, whose conditions include him being barred from unzipping or removing his trousers in public.