A MAN has walked free from court despite brandishing an imitation handgun during a dispute with his ex-girlfriend.

Mark Eaglestone, of Begbroke Crescent, Begbroke, near Kidlington, was handed a six-month suspended sentence yesterday at Oxford Crown Court.

The 21-year-old admitted possessing a replica firearm in a public place when he visited a house in Evans Road, Eynsham, on February 6.

Chris Hewertson, prosecuting, said Eaglestone visited the property after the breakdown of a relationship which had started in June last year.

He told Judge Ian Pringle that the day before the incident the defendant sent Rebecca Treadwell 207 Facebook messages and left her 34 missed calls.

Mr Hewertson said the following day Eaglestone visited her house and started shouting, swearing and tipping over rubbish bins outside.

The barrister said after Miss Treadwell told him to leave she went back inside the house and saw him pull a small BB gun out of his pocket.

Police had visited his house and found an imitation Colt 1908 self-loading pistol, which belonged to Eaglestone’s father.

Judge Pringle sentenced him to six months in prison, suspended for two years, and made a restraining order for 12 months. He said Eaglestone had been lucky to avoid prison.

The defendant was also given a conditional discharge for six months for possessing cannabis.