A father-of seven who manufactured a home-made firearm to harm himself has been jailed for three years.
Robert Bulpin, 46, of North Road, Bourne, pleaded guilty to manufacturing a prohibited firearm.
Lincoln Crown Court heard police who raided his home on December 18, last year found the brass device in a children’s gold school bag together with four legal game cartridges.
The prohibited weapon, which had a working firing mechanism, was usually kept in Bulpin’s bedroom drawer. Bulpin “panicked” when the police arrived and asked a member of the family to move the firearm, the court was told.
When questioned by police, Bulpin said he suffered from depression and had used the weapon on just two occasions when it failed to go off during suicide attempts.
Bulpin, an engineer by trade, admitted making the weapon in 2008.
A police firearms expert who set off the weapon under controlled conditions found it was capable of discharging a round.
The expert concluded the mechanism was not clean and looked like the barrel of a shotgun which had been fired several times.
Chris Jeyes, mitigating, told the court Bulpin had no links to organised crime or the drugs world, and the firearm was not obvious to an untrained eye.
Mr Jeyes added: “He is a married man with seven children, the youngest of whom is just one-years-old.”
Bulpin claimed the bedroom, which he shared with his wife and where the firearm was stored in a drawer, was always kept locked.
Passing sentence Judge Michael Heath said while he accepted the weapon had been built to harm himself he did not believe that the door to the bedroom where the firearm was stored was always kept locked.
“In a busy house with a number of children it would not be practical,” Judge Heath told Bulpin.