South East Wales

Newport gunman Darren Williams had weapons conviction

Darren Williams
Image caption Darren Williams was jailed in 2004 for possessing prohibited weapons

A gunman found dead after shooting his estranged wife in a Newport hair salon had a previous conviction for possessing weapons, it has emerged.

Darren Williams, 45, was jailed for four months in 2004 after police discovered weapons in his home.

They included a stun gun, a .22 pistol, a machete and ammunition.

His family said he had needed help after his "traumatic" marriage breakdown. His wife is recovering in hospital.

Mr Williams, 45, from Cwmbran, used a double-barrelled shot gun in Friday afternoon's attack, which saw three women injured at Carol-Ann's hair stylist on Malpas Road.

His body was found at Brynglas woods - behind Brynglas primary school in the city - at 20:15 BST on Friday.

Shotgun licence

Gwent Police are continuing to investigate the incident and say they are not looking for anyone else in connection with his death.

On Saturday police said Mr Williams had a passion for hunting and outdoor pursuits but did not have a shotgun licence.

He was jailed for four months at Cardiff Crown Court in 2004 after police discovered the "arsenal of weapons" under the bed at his Brynglas home.

The items included a hunting knife, canisters of CS gas and bullets.

Mr Williams had earlier convictions for possessing a prohibited weapon, one of possessing prohibited ammunition and one of purchasing a converted firearm without a certificate.

Image caption Members of Mr Williams' family said he had needed help after his "traumatic" marriage breakdown

The father-of-two claimed in court that he was an interested collector and never planned to use the weapons.

His defence counsel told the court at the time: "These are weapons which could have serious consequences if used. But there was no use made - they were collector's items and kept well out of the way."

The judge ordered the weapons to be destroyed and said it was "a matter of public safety that these items are held only by those authorised".

On Friday Mr Williams sparked a major police operation when he entered the hairdressers and shot his estranged wife, who worked there, in the knee.

The Royal Gwent Hospital in Newport said she had been in a comfortable condition and was considered well enough to be transferred to Morriston Hospital in Swansea on Saturday.

Two female customers suffered minor injuries from rebounds from the shots and have been discharged from hospital.

Mr Williams' family told BBC Wales: "Darren has suffered for the last few weeks due to the traumatic break up of his marriage and desperately needed professional medical attention.

"The people who have been hurt, family and friends, as a family we feel that had Darren been given this help and support the situation could have been avoided.

"We ask that you respect out privacy at this very sad time."

At a press conference on Saturday, Supt Dave Johnson of Gwent Police said: "He did not have a shotgun licence but was known to have a passion for hunting and outdoor pursuits.

"We want information on how he got hold of the shotgun used in the attack.

"We are trying to understand the nature of their relationship and what actually led to the sequence of events that led up to the tragic incident."

He added that Mr Williams had been finding the situation with his wife "difficult".

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