back to article IT manager jailed for 5 years for attempting dark web gun buy

A UK IT manager who bought a gun on the dark web has been jailed for five years for firearm offences. Darren Hillyer, 38, posed as a woman supposedly wanting revenge on an ex-lover who she had discovered was a child abuser. According ordered a Ruger LC9 9mm pistol and 50 rounds of ammunition from a dark web “gun trader”. The …

  1. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    "attempting to evade the duty on an imported item"???

    So the problem was that the gun wasn't taxed?

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: "attempting to evade the duty on an imported item"???

      I think he was done to be made an example of, as they couldn't, clearly, find anything better to stick to him. Rather sad story, really. Yeah, it's possible the recipient might ultimately end up shooting someone (I bet he imagined carrying the gun in his underarm holster), but more likely, he'd have shoot himself. 5 years... rather harsh, when you get away with restriction orders for getting involved with "extremists" etc.

      1. WalterAlter
        Pirate

        Get your TOR chops up to spec

        The harsh "warning" jail time is an admission that the coppers can't stop Dark Web trade, but can only, from time to time, snag some poor random sot who didn't know the Dark Web's finer points. Like Stalin ordering the random roundup of a percentage of your workers committee just to keep the rest of you focused on the glories of the workers paradise. You don't want to mess around with the shell dwellers cold off the street. I'd take at least 6 months getting to know the terrain maps before tendering a deal of any sort. Lots of forums there with talk about avoiding honey traps. Go ahead, get your gat, but do so with your eyes open. Play smart...play smarter.

    2. perlcat

      Re: "attempting to evade the duty on an imported item"???

      Yes, that's how chickensh*t LEO's handle it when they think it ought to be illegal, but it isn't. It's also called 'selective enforcement', as I'm sure the law is applied the same for every package sent to a UK address from international addresses. Oops. Sorry, my sarcasm is acting up again today.

      1. John Brown (no body) Silver badge
        WTF?

        Re: "attempting to evade the duty on an imported item"???

        What are "LEO's"?

        Is this slang for "officers from the National Crime Agency (NCA)"

        1. kain preacher

          Re: "attempting to evade the duty on an imported item"???

          Law

          Enforcement

          Officer

          1. John Brown (no body) Silver badge

            Re: "attempting to evade the duty on an imported item"???

            Oh, ok, then. I've not heard that one before. I guess it's an Americanism then? Here in blighty the political correctness brigade won't normally allow anything that sounds confrontational such as "enforcement", hence why we have a "Police Service" these days instead of the Police Force we used to have :-)

            1. kain preacher

              Re: "attempting to evade the duty on an imported item"???

              Used in American and Canada. Peace Officer is also some times to.

              LEA is Law Enforcement Agency. Which is the same a Police dept. IE NYPD is and LEA

              1. John Brown (no body) Silver badge
                Happy

                Re: "attempting to evade the duty on an imported item"???

                "LEA is Law Enforcement Agency. Which is the same a Police dept. IE NYPD is and LEA"

                This is why I try to avoid acronyms etc in an international forum. LEA on this side of the pond is more likely to seen as Local Education Authority. I eventually got off my arse and found out that POTUS is President Of The United State but for a while I was reading SCOTUS as "scrotum". Still can't be arsed to look that one up. :-)

  2. Anonymous Coward
    Unhappy

    Don't the bizzies have any real terrorists to arrest?

    Blatant entrapment, disgusting.

    1. Mark 85 Silver badge

      Re: Don't the bizzies have any real terrorists to arrest?

      The LEO's do a lot of that as such. Take a look at the Dread Pirate Roberts case, for example. Here in the States, they call it a "sting".

    2. DropBear

      Re: Don't the bizzies have any real terrorists to arrest?

      Erm, wouldn't that require the fuzz actively peddling guns to poor unsuspecting DarkNetizens who only went there for some fluffy lolcats?

    3. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Don't the bizzies have any real terrorists to arrest?

      >

      > Blatant entrapment, disgusting.

      >

      You've watched too many US cop shows.

      Entrapment is a perfectly acceptable tool for UK Police forces. It's used frequently and has been for many years, normally quite blatantly.

      I recall a case in the late 80's in Scotland where the Strathclyde drug squad spent over a year trying to persuade a local businessman to transport drugs for them. They didn't believe he was a successful businessman as the source of his money and decided it must be drugs, so spent a huge amount of time and effort to break him down and convince him to move a "shipment". When he did, they moved in and he got around 10 years.

      The reality was the cops could have done a small amount of real police investigation and discovered he was really dealing in counterfeit goods and got him for that but all they thought of was drugs and hence embarked on the elaborate entrapment scheme instead.

      (and after 10 years in jail, he made all sorts of criminal connections and embarked on a real crime career - well done !)

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Don't the bizzies have any real terrorists to arrest?

        Yeah, I saw that too! Dennis Waterman was in it. Is it still on the iPlayer?

      2. Will 28

        @AC - Entrapment - not perfectly acceptable

        I'm not a lawyer, but even a quick google of the subject shows that you're not entirely correct here. Cases have been dismissed in the UK on the grounds that they were entrapment. It sounds as though the case you're highlighting where they actually persuaded the person to commit a crime, the judge should have thrown the case out.

        From my brief read on the subject, it appears that police are allowed to create an opportunity for a crime (leave goods unprotected then arrest the thief, or run a shop on the dark web that can be contacted for gun purchase), however they cannot encourage you to commit that crime. So I assume that they could not leave some goods unprotected, then pay someone to go and steal it for them. However it's up to the judge to conclude that was done, you cannot submit it as a defence to the jury.

        Once again - not a lawyer, just breaking down the results of a quick search on the subject.

      3. ITS Retired
        Devil

        Re: Don't the bizzies have any real terrorists to arrest?

        "(and after 10 years in jail, he made all sorts of criminal connections and embarked on a real crime career - well done !)"

        If you have to do the time, might as well do the crime.

  3. RobHib
    Stop

    Is there a desperate shortage of IT managers?

    Either there's a desperate shortage of IT managers or his firm pays peanuts.

    Employing an idiotic monkey to do skilled work seems somewhat incongruous.

  4. OffBeatMammal

    Of course here in the freedom loving US I can walk into a Walmart and walk out with the same setup. Though I am proud to say after 9 years here I have only been to Walmart once (and while I do have a CPL I get my ammosexual jollies strictly at a Range)

  5. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Simple case of

    Qualifications exceeding common sense.

  6. David Roberts Silver badge

    Plastic gun?

    Presumably (hopefully) because incoming packages get x-rayed so a metal replica wouldn't have got through?

    Or is this too optimistic?

  7. deweyzeph

    Thought crime

    This poor guy has essentially been sent to jail for a thought crime. At no time was he ever in possession of a real gun. How on earth can you send someone to jail for 5 years for this?

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Thought crime

      As Slideshow Bob said "I am presently incarcerated, imprisoned for a crime I did not even commit. "Attempted murder," now honestly, did they ever give anyone a Nobel prize for "attempted chemistry?"

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Thought crime

      He'll probably serve two and a half years for it, and during his time inside he'll probably learn where he can buy one from...

    3. John 48

      Re: Thought crime

      Firearms offences in the UK are "strict liability" offences, with a mandatory 5 year jail term. Attempting to purchase a firearm without a license is an offence under the law, and that is it pretty much game over. There is no need to prove intention or anything else, and very little wriggle room for a judge or jury to do anything else other than hand out the prescribed sentence.

  8. gibbleth

    Seriouisly? For a micro 9?

    Let me join the chorus and say I have a CHL (Concealed Handgun License) in the great state of Texas, and can purchase any handgun I like and receive it immediately with no background check as my CHL required a far more extensive background check than the national one. So, someone buying a micro 9, as those dinky guns are called, really doesn't seem like a 'crime' requiring five years in jail, to me.

    Further, would someone here in the US (or even someone in the UK) please explain to me how, if it is that easy to get a gun in the UK, they expect to ban it in the US? This is still one of the unexplained mysteries of the gun control lobby here, not that they are big on thinking things through, that they can effectively stop the influx of illegal guns because, even though guns are, for the most part, legal here, there are still truckloads of illegal guns shipped in from South America, where they are manufactured without serial numbers or any governmental oversight.

    So, yeah, you caught a poor sod who had delusions of grandeur. How many *REAL* criminals have you caught? The ones with decent connections who can get guns cheaply and easily?

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Seriouisly? For a micro 9?

      [Talking about handguns or assault rifles]

      In the UK getting a gun wouldn't terrifically hard (getting the ammo might prove a bit more difficult). However, there just isn't the culture in the UK. A regular person has so little contact or affiliation with a gun that it becomes a very big step to think about trying to get one. Get caught with one and there is no excuse, you go to jail. Therefore to attempt suicide you wouldn't think about buying a gun, to commit murder you wouldn't think about getting a gun (for most people).

      You can't even have a handgun licence for sport/range use any more as they were banned after a mass shooting by a legal gun owner. After the ban came in as all guns were registered with strict storage regulations and all (the few) owners of legally held guns were generally honest individuals, it wasn't hard to remove them from the population.

      There is still some illegal guns, but these are mainly held and used by the criminal gangs against each other.

      Some parts of Europe have a bigger problem because of the land links to "Eastern" Europe and the wars that they had there. Belgium is also more relaxed and so has some more gun control issues.

      In the US it would be very different. There is an ingrained culture, guns are not seen as a big deal and there is a fervent opposition to losing the "constitutional right" to bear arms.

      It would be a massive fight and take many generations to get to a point where the ban was effective. Even then criminals would have always been familiar with them and their use passed down through the generations.

      However getting to a position where guns are regarded like they are in Canada might be a start.

    2. gnasher729 Silver badge

      Re: Seriouisly? For a micro 9?

      "Further, would someone here in the US (or even someone in the UK) please explain to me how, if it is that easy to get a gun in the UK, they expect to ban it in the US? "

      Only this article to go by, but where did you see it is easy to get a gun in the UK? What was reasonably easy was to get a fake gun and then go to jail for a few year. I'd think getting a real gun with some real ammunition and staying out of jail would be a bit harder.

  9. Slow Joe Crow

    BTW you get an illustration fail. The picture clearly shows a Ruger LCP in.380 ACP and not the similar LC( in 9mm

    1. Lotaresco Silver badge
      Meh

      Slow Joe Crow

      "BTW you get an illustration fail."

      No one cares. It's a subject as dull as counting the rivets on steam locomotives.

  10. Lotaresco Silver badge
    WTF?

    Walter Mitty

    What is it about IT that seems to attract the Walter Mittys of this world?

    Every year or two one of them seems to crop up in my line of work. They are fairly easy to spot because they will make ludicrous claims and will resort to bluster and name calling if they get challenged on it. It's odd that so many managers seem to fall for their line of spin and employ them.

    Over the years I have seen people employed on the basis of an entirely fictitious CV (multiple occasions). When I checked qualifications claimed or work history the individuals concerned had fabricated their qualifications (one claimed a PhD when he had no higher qualification than HNC) or lied about their work experience. However the manager(s) who hired hadn't bothered to check any of the details.

    Most recently the Walter Mitty employed as an Enterprise Security Architect had a knowledge of IT that was at about the level of "the man down the pub". It became obvious that something was wrong in his first week at work as he started to talk drivel (including a recommendation that for a new data centre build we should "Buy some of those little NAS things from PC World, they're really good.") His end came after a network engineer called me into a meeting where Walt was attempting to describe his Big Shiny Brilliant Security Ideas. He was talking drivel and when challenged on technical detail he fell back on "You're obviously too stupid to understand this." and "I can personally assure you that I can secure any system at any level." We asked some very basic questions about network architecture and he got every answer wrong in a way that left several people laughing out loud. Eventually he realised he was rumbled and ran away from the building never to be seen again.

POST COMMENT House rules

Not a member of The Register? Create a new account here.

  • Enter your comment

  • Add an icon

Anonymous cowards cannot choose their icon

Biting the hand that feeds IT © 1998–2021