A GUNMAN rang his neighbour’s doorbell in the early hours of the morning and told his terrified victim, “I am going to shoot you”.

James Wilkins pointed the imitation Glock 19 pistol just inches away from James Warke’s head.

“It looked extremely real and terrified me,” said Mr Warke in a statement read out at Manchester Minshull Street Crown Court.

“I thought I was going to be killed.”

Mr Warke slammed the door shut, locked it and ran upstairs to call the police.

But when officers arrived at 37-year-old Wilkins’ home they found him unconscious and he was rushed to hospital.

Dan Gaskell, defending, told how Wilkins, who has schizophrenia and was upset by the death of a relative and the theft of his dog, had stopped taking his medication, planning to stockpile it with the intention of taking his own life.

The court heard that the father-of-two, of Percy Street, Bury, has no memory of the incident or of making a threatening phone call to a former partner the previous day.

Hunter Gray, prosecuting, told how, at 6am on May 6, Mr Warke was asleep when he was awoken by the doorbell.

“He opened the door and, as he did so, he saw the defendant, who he only knew as James at the time,” said Mr Gray.

“He was holding a black handgun which was pointed towards his head. He says the gun was about a foot away from his face.

“The defendant said, ‘I’m going to shoot you’ and explained he had a personal grievance.”

Mr Warke said that Wilkins looked like he had been drinking or taking drugs and after he shut the door he spotted him walking towards Chesham Crescent.

On returning home Wilkins told his housemate, “I pistol-whipped him. I think I have killed him.”

He then went to bed and hid the gun under the bed.

The court heard that Wilkins had legally bought the imitation gun but claimed to have broken it.

After treatment in hospital Wilkins was arrested and pleaded guilty to possessing an imitation firearm with intent to cause violence and sending a threatening message to his former partner on May 5.

He had called her at 3.46am and left a voicemail stating: “I’ll ****ing murder you.”

Mr Gaskell stated that, when he was aged 17, Wilkins was stabbed.

“After that his mental health significantly deteriorated,” he said.

In May he had stopped taking his medication.

“He clearly was in a very difficult place at the time of these offences,” he said.

For the last four months Wilkins has been remanded in custody.

“Now that he is stabilised and on medication he is able to reflect on what he has done and take stock of his life,” said Mr Gaskell.

Judge Mark Savill sentenced Wilkins to 16 months in prison telling him that, although he has mental health difficulties, he was fully aware of what could happen if he stopped taking his medication.

“You knew when you didn’t take your medication that you would very quickly become psychotic,” he said.