Santa Claus in the dock after gun threat on girls

Naughty or Nice? Photo: kevindooley, flickr

A  Father Christmas look-a-like is facing jail after pulling out a gun on a group of teenage girls who offended him by calling “Santa”, Croydon Crown Court heard.

Hugh Vipond, 60, is now facing 14 years in prison after he threatened a 14-year-old girl with a 5.5mm caliber, cartridge-loading air gun in December 2009.

Three teenagers appeared in court and told the jury that they were outside Vipond’s home at Crichton Road, Carshalton on the evening in question. According to them, he came outside and started swearing at them for being too noisy.

When one of the girls called him “Santa Claus” the white-bearded 60-year-old pulled out the weapon and pointed it at her face.

Vipond denied being offended by the nickname and boasted about his role as Father Christmas. He said: “I’ve been called Santa lots of times. “

The retired station inspector said: “At work I used to dress up and turn the operations room into a grotto – I got told off for it but that didn’t bother me.”

Vipond claimed that on the night of the incident he was suffering from pain after medical tests taken at St Helier Hospital. He said he had attempted to relieve the pain by having a few shots of whiskey and two doses of sleeping pills.

Vipond, who owns a collection of ornamental dueling weapons, denied the offence of pointing a gun at a girls face but was found guilty of possession of a firearm.

He will be sentenced next month.

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