Constantly Furious has done some clever detective work and tracked down the reporter resonsible for the Paul Clarke story.
Her view seems to be that there really isn't anything more to the case than the fact that Clarke handed the weapon in.
"I'm sorry to disappoint anyone but all the facts are there. We wouldn't have printed it unless we knew that for certain"
It would appear that much of the cynicism surrounding this was fuelled by two aspects. Firstly, the quite astounding severity of the punishment if there was nothing more to it, and secondly that the story wasn't plastered all over the press.
Reporter Holly Thompson casts a bit more light on that, too [emphasis mine].
"it was in the nationals. Was sourced exclusively to the Sun who had it as a page lead on Thursday"
The key word is 'exclusively'. Now, I'm no expert on journo etiquette, but that would tend to suggest a big 'hands off' notice to other nationals (though why the Sun chose not to add it to their online version is anyone's guess).
But it certainly was in their Thursday hard copy. Mrs Puddlecote Snr is a bit of hoarder of newspapers and managed to dig out the article in question. Click to enlarge.
The only obvious addition is a statement from the Crown Prosecution Service that the shotgun was handed in "some days" after being discovered ... though how that is supposed to explain away the deeply felt concern about the situation is anyone's guess.
So, still no hint of any unsavoury aspect to this man's character, in fact, he is known as a contact (and regularly consulted as such), on local issues, by the local paper concerned.
No. It really does appear to be that this is, quite simply, as clear cut, barmy and disturbing a case as any of us have ever encountered.
UPDATE: Holly Thompson reports on Twitter that Paul Clarke's solicitor has just been interviewed on Radio 4. Perhaps this is beginning to be taken seriously.