Pippa faces arrest over gun stunt

Apr 17, 2012, 08:56 IST | Agencies

Kate Middleton's sister under fire after her friend is seen brandishing a pistol as he drives her in his Audi convertible on the streets of Paris

Disturbing images of Pippa Middleton sitting next to a friend as he brandishes a handgun while driving a car are being investigated by detectives in Paris today. The pictures were captured as Prince William’s 27-year-old sister-in-law travelled in an Audi convertible in the centre of the French capital. The driver of the car can clearly be seen pointing what looks like a semi-automatic pistol at a photographer.

Bang out of order: If the gun that the friend brandished turns out to be real, Pippa can be sentenced to seven years’ jail. File pic

It came just hours after Middleton attended a lavish fancy dress party to celebrate the 29th birthday of Paris fashion entrepreneur Arthur de Soultrait. The incident will cause concern within the Royal Family, particularly if legal proceedings follow. If the gun turns out to be real, all those involved in the incident face up to seven years in prison. Even if the weapon is a fake, they could be sentenced to two years.

France is currently on heightened security alert after Islamic terrorist Mohammed Merah used a handgun to murder seven people in the south west of the country last month. Middleton, the sister to 30-year-old Catherine, Duchess of Cambridge, was being driven to the Gare du Nord station to board a Eurostar high speed train to London on Saturday.

At least one person who witnessed the waiving of the gun has made a formal complaint to Paris police, providing pictures of what happened. These have been handed over to judicial police who are likely to involve an examining magistrate. If they consider that there is enough evidence for a prosecution, then Middleton and Soultrait will be among those summoned to give evidence.

A judicial source in the French capital said, “If the evidence points to (Pippa Middleton’s) involvement, she will be prosecuted. Anybody involved in the illegal use of a handgun in public is liable to arrest and interrogation.” A police source said that it was ‘absolutely forbidden’ for anyone to use a gun to ‘warn people off’ in France. He added, “If someone has a licence for a weapon then it must be kept covered at all times, and away from members of the public.” A security source added, “Waving a weapon in public is not only illegal — it’s incredibly stupid.” 

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