A GROUP of teenagers who filmed themselves playing a TikTok prank on a stranger feared for their lives when he returned and threatened them with a gun.

A judge said the TikTok prank was ‘a piece of rather juvenile stupidity’ for which they might have to live with the consequences when they approach passers-by.

But Jason Willetts’ reaction was to go to his home iand collect an imitation handgun before returning and threatening the group with it.

A 20 second video was shown to Exeter Crown Court where some of the group repeatedly say to Willetts, previously of Buckfastleigh, as he walks by them, ‘you don’t scare me’.

Exeter Crown Court heard the victims of the gun threat said they saw their ‘lives flashing before them’ and were left ‘petrified’ as they believed their lives were at risk.

Judge David Evans said the gun was an imitation which was not loaded and could not be fired but had still caused real fear.

The judge said the youngsters were filming the prank but were not aggressive or intimidating although Willetts may have felt humiliated and belittled by their actions.

He told Willetts: ‘You frightened the life out of them, they thought you were going to kill them.’ 

Willetts, 52, previously of Glebelands, Buckfastleigh, but now of Lapford, admitted possessing a firearm with intent to cause fear of violence and was jailed for two years, suspended for two years, with 18 months supervision.

He ordered the imitation gun be destroyed.

Willetts originally claimed the youngsters, some under 18, threatened him, kicked his dog and he was so frightened he wet himself, but he ditched that basis of plea after viewing the short footage.

Prosecutor Lewis Aldous said the children were taking part in a TikTok challenge in June 2022 in which they approached strangers and told them ‘you don’t scare me’.

They approached Willetts as he walked his dog on the towpath of the Tiverton Canal. Willetts replied they didn’t scare him either and walked away. 

He returned without his dog but carrying a black handgun which he pointed at them. 

He told the oldest of the group ‘I’m going to kill you’, leading all but one to take refuge at a pub, where they called the police.


One 13-year-old girl remained behind and Willetts pointed gun in her face and said ‘I don’t forget a face, if I see you again, you’ll be dead’.

Police found the gun in a drawer in a locked shed. It was blank firing pistol with spare magazine but was tested and not capable of firing. 

Miss Evie Dean, defending, said Willetts now regrets going away to get his gun and accepts that returning with it was ‘completely inexcusable’.