THE tragic father of a two-year-old girl who died when a TV set fell on her is facing jail after stumbling across a secret cache of drug dealers’ weapons buried behind his home.
Peter Lyle, 39, a gun enthusiast, intended to hand the military ordnance in to the authorities, a court was told.
But because he had a passion for hunting and his life had been torn apart by tragedy, he became curious and fired some “dum dum” shells to test the strange weapon.
Marcus Topham, defending, said Lyle’s judgement had been affected by a number of family tragedies, including the death of one of his two daughters.
An inquest heard last month that 23-month-old Lucy Lyle died when she pulled a TV set down on top of herself while watching Barney on CBeebies with her sister at the family’s previous home in Beverley Road, Norton.
Scarborough Magistrates heard Lyle held weapons legally under a firearms certificate and had permission to shoot vermin on land behind his house. The court heard that a cannabis farm on land behind his home had already been raided by North Yorkshire Police, who recovered a number of guns.
But the home-made sniper rifle and large quantity of military “dum dum” bullets remained undiscovered until Lyle found them in a concealed pit while out hunting.
Mr Topham said: “He was going to hand it in to police but never got around to it.”
Katie Varlow, prosecuting, said the weapon, found in a shallow covered hole, had been crudely welded together using parts from different weapons to convert it from a shotgun to a .22 rifle.
It only had a 12ins to 14ins barrel but had been adapted with a large optical sight.
She added the police officer who examined the weapon “had never seen anything like it before.”
Lyle, of The Granary, Great Habton, near Malton, admitted three firearms offences involving the possession of the rifle and more than 100 rounds of military grade hollow point expanding bullets.
Magistrates declined jurisdiction of the case and Lyle was bailed to appear at York Crown Court for sentence on July 7.