FRIENDS who took an imitation handgun with them to confront a group of teenage girls have walked free from court.

Ryan Beeke, 19, and a 16-year-old girl who cannot be named, brought out the gun – an imitation of a Colt 1911 – when they met four young women outside Bourne Academy on March 9 this year.

Although the weapon was not used to threaten any of the teenagers, prosecutor Sadie Rizzo said it was ‘handled and passed between the two of them’.

After the victims walked away, the weapon was fired at the ground, she added.

“The defendant and one of the victims were friends, but had a falling out which appears to have been largely through social media,” Ms Rizzo said.

“They arranged a meeting, to take place outside a school in Kingswell Road, Kinson. The victim went along to meet the defendant together with three friends.”

But the female defendant arrived with Beeke, and the prosecutor said a handgun was passed between the two.

“There was a conversation about the gun, the victim and her former friend, and the victim said, ‘You wouldn’t actually do that’ – meaning shoot her – and the defendant said yes, she would,” Ms Rizzo said.

Although Beeke told police he had a clip for the weapon, no ammunition was recovered by police, and it is believed that the gun was not loaded when it was fired.

The defendants admitted having a firearm in a public place at Bournemouth Crown Court.

They denied possessing a firearm with intent to cause fear of violence, which was accepted by the prosecution.

Nick Robinson, mitigating for Beeke, said the defendant faces losing his apprenticeship as an electrical engineer. These three girls have been bullying the female defendant for some time,” he said.

“I am sure they will say the same. She was outnumbered three to one. Mr Beeke took a weapon just to defend them from physical attack, which was honestly anticipated.”

But Recorder Richard Onslow said he took the offence ‘very seriously’ before sentencing Beeke to 60 hours of unpaid work, and his co-accused to a four-month referral order.

“It was a very, very stupid thing to do,” he said.

“I don’t want anyone to go away from this court thinking, ‘That was easy – I just paid a bit of money and got away with it’.”