A man has admitted to pointing a double-barrel shotgun at a group of strangers before chasing them around the Warrnambool CBD in the middle of the night.
Craig Franklin, 49, of Warrnambool, pleaded guilty in Warrnambool County Court on Monday to making threat to inflict serious injury, conduct endangering persons and firearm-related summary offences.
The court heard the three male victims attended Warrnambool for a golf trip and were searching for a friend who had gone missing in the early morning of July 20, 2019.
While seated in a parked Toyota Corolla at the rear of the Seanchai Hotel, the trio was approached by Franklin in his white Toyota Kluger about 3.30am.
One of the victims told Franklin they were looking for their mate and asked him if he had a problem.
Franklin said he was also looking for someone before reaching over and grabbing a double-barrel shotgun which he then pointed at the victims through the open car windows.
The driver of the Corolla quickly accelerated away, exiting the car park via Timor Street.
He told the other victims to hold on and drove away as fast as he could, exceeding speeds of 90 km/h in an attempt to get away.
Franklin followed the group, chasing them as they conducted laps of the CBD.
The victims passed the police station a number of times but were too scared to stop the vehicle, instead calling 000 and sounding the horn as a cry for help.
The court heard the victims were terrified.
Franklin drove away after the third lap and the victims attended the police station.
Police later obtained CCTV and identified the Toyota Kluger which was registered to Franklin.
Further investigations revealed the man held a Category A and B longarm licence and had more than a dozen firearms registered to his name.
Police later raided two Nullawarre properties, one of which uncovered a Boito 12-gauge shotgun on a bed.
A further 13 registered firearms, as well as ammunition, was located in a gun safe at the second property which wasn't listed on the man's firearms licence.
A prosecutor said the offending was a serious example of the charges.
She said Franklin was alcohol-affected at 3am, pursuing strangers in a vehicle through the darkened streets.
The court heard Franklin had consumed alcohol after two years of abstinence, which further negatively impacted his existing psychiatric issues.
Jonathan Rattray, representing Franklin, said his client had very little recollection of the event.
Franklin is already serving a jail sentence for arson after he burnt down his family home, killing three pets in 2010.
He was sentenced last year to three years and three months' jail with a non-parole period of 21 months.
Franklin has been eligible for parole for more than a year, however Mr Rattray said his client remained in custody due to the current offending and that he may be deported to New Zealand upon his release.
Franklin will be sentenced next week.
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