A SELF-CONFESSED “obsessed” firearm collector who stockpiled an arsenal of weapons, including an M16 assault rifle, at his Garden Suburb home says he didn’t know about recent amnesties, during which he could have surrendered the guns to authorities.
Retired railway investigator Kevin James Cox, 62, gave evidence during a sentence hearing into four serious firearm offences in Newcastle District Court on Friday, telling Judge Jennie Girdham, SC, that if he had his time again he would have handed the weapons in.
That was because the discovery of the cache of weapons had ruined his life, leaving him in a maximum security prison after it was revealed he had been living something of a lie by purporting to be an Australian Federal police officer and an army warrant officer with 20 years’ experience.
Cox’s life began to unravel on September 25 last year when he was involved in a motorcycle crash.
His wife subsequently took possession of his belongings and found a Federal police badge.
Concerned for his mental health, Cox’s wife decided she should arrange for a firearm dealer to remove 30 firearms from the family home, only for the expert to discover that Cox was not allowed to own many of the guns.
The police were called in and eventually seized 17 firearms, including an AR15 Colt semi-automatic rifle, a Savage 12-gauge shotgun, a Smith and Wesson .38 calibre revolver and a Norinco .22 calibre pistol, as well as eight silencers, three training grenades, ammunition and various firearm parts.
Cox told Judge Girdham that not all the firearms were operable and that he had three safes to store those that were.
He said he held firearm licenses in three classes, but acknowledged that many of the firearms he owned were not covered by those licenses.
That was because some of the firearms were lawful when he first obtained them, but Cox said he had “failed to keep abreast of significant changes in the laws and the community’s expectations”.
DPP solicitor Julie Gomez asked Cox that, given he claimed he was “obsessed” with firearms, why he didn’t know about firearm amnesties, including one in NSW in 2009, in which he could have handed them in.
“I knew the community was changing its views, but I didn’t know about any amnesty,” Cox said.
Judge Girdham will sentence Cox in October.