Student who made guns with 3D printer jailed
Tendai Muswere’s case is thought to have been a legal first in the UK.
A “loner” student convicted of making guns using a 3D printer in what is thought to be a UK legal first has been jailed.
Tendai Muswere claimed he made the revolver and handgun as props for a university film project.
But he threw some firearm components out of his kitchen window as police made their way into his home for a search last year, Southwark Crown Court heard.
The former media studies student at London South Bank University pleaded guilty earlier this year to two counts of possession and two of manufacturing the prohibited firearms.
The 26-year-old sat in the dock wearing a black suit as he was sentenced at Southwark Crown Court.
Police had searched his home in 2017 and last year, discovering 3D printers and firearms components, as well as cannabis.
Judge Jeffrey Pegden QC, sentencing him to three years in prison, said Muswere had been searching the internet for downloadable instructions to print 3D component parts for the firearms.
He said: “On the second occasion police came to your house you were clearly aware of the illegality of your actions as you threw parts of a firearm out the kitchen window as police were making their way inside.”
Muswere had claimed he was not aware the gun frames he had made would be capable of firing but his internet search history showed he had looked for steel tubing which, when added to the firearms, made them usable.
While the judge said Muswere’s motive remained “unclear”, he dismissed the excuse he had wanted to use the weapons as props for a film.
The judge said: “You had not written your script and had no purpose for the props.”
He also rejected Muswere’s excuse he had simply found ammunition in a park.
Muswere’s lawyer John Kearney said his client was a “quite complex and unusual individual” but argued he was not violent.
Mr Kearney said: “He’s something of a loner, somebody who has a long history of mental illness, not somebody with a history of violence or somebody with a history of an association with criminals.”
This was the first prosecution of its kind in the UK and we hope it serves as a warning to anyone who is considering possessing and manufacturing firearms Claire Holder, Crown Prosecution Service
The court heard Muswere suffered from paranoid schizophrenia and had regularly smoked cannabis, saying it was to help with his anxiety.
Muswere was sentenced to three years on each charge, with the sentences to run concurrently.
The judge also ordered the firearms and all components be destroyed.
Claire Holder from the Crown Prosecution Service said: “Muswere claimed that the firearms found in his flat were made for a university film project and were incapable of firing deadly shots.
“However, he was using 3D designs found on the internet which were specifically for the making of live firearms.
“Evidence also showed that he had made repeated attempts to print the weapons, which we believe showed that he was trying to perfect a workable firearm.”
She added: “It is illegal to manufacture or possess prohibited weapons without a licence.
“This was the first prosecution of its kind in the UK and we hope it serves as a warning to anyone who is considering possessing and manufacturing firearms.”