Woman packin' pistol, bourbon

LYN HUMPHREYS
Last updated 05:00 21/03/2014
gun stand
Police at the scene where Heather May Ardern was unlawfully carrying a firearm in a public place.

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A young woman armed with a pistol in one hand and a bottle of bourbon in the other scared passersby as she walked along a suburban New Plymouth street in broad daylight.

Heather May Ardern, 25, yesterday admitted charges of unlawfully carrying a firearm in a public place and theft of property worth more than $1000 from a house.

The summary of facts states that on the morning of February 6 Ardern went to a Durham Ave house and stole a bottle of Jim Beam bourbon, two smartphones and a Dan Wesson .177 gas-powered pistol. She then went to a park and started drinking the bourbon straight from the bottle.

At 10.46am people on Carrington St were alarmed when they saw her with the bottle in one hand and the pistol in the other and rang the police.

When Ardern saw a police patrol car parked on the roadside, she hid the pistol down the back of her jeans. By the time she got to Parsons St police caught up with her and she was arrested.

Her story at the time was that she had grabbed the pistol off a man who "appeared out of nowhere".

She also said the alcohol and cellphones she stole were her own.

In court yesterday her lawyer, Patrick Mooney, said Ardern went to the friend's place to collect money she was owed and when he did not have it she became angry. She grabbed items, including the gun, from him as payment and left.

Ardern was sentenced to 175 hours' community work and ordered to pay $40 for the bourbon. The other items were returned.

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- Taranaki Daily News

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