Exeter student charged with fake gun threats pleads not guilty

The trial is due to start in September

The Exeter student who was arrested and charged with making threats with a fake gun has pleaded not guilty in court.

Yihe Xiong, a postgraduate student from China, was charged with threatening students with a gun later confirmed to be a metal replica or a blank-firing handgun. The gun was not loaded.

Yihe pleaded not guilty to possession of an imitation firearm with intent to cause a fear of unlawful violence, at Exeter Crown and County Court, and has been granted bail to reappear for trial on the 10th September at the same venue.

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Armed police were called to the University on June 19th, following reports of a man with a firearm in the Amory building.

Campus was immediately evacuated and armed units were sent to the university.

Eye witnesses described seeing police armed with guns and riot shields.

One student said: "At about 12.20pm there were police with guns and riot shields outside the Amory building.

"The Old Library, Reed Hall, the Innovation Centre and Business School were on lockdown.

"The Amory was evacuated but the forum was not affected at all."

Another student said: "I was in the cafe but some people were still in the exam because they had extra time, so they were pulled out.

"I saw the police with their AK47s and I also saw the police dogs."

Students were allowed back onto campus shortly, and the police confirmed that there were "no reported injuries".

A spokesperson for the University said the building had been closed "for a short period of time" while the incident "was dealt with swiftly and effectively."

Superintendent Matt Lawler said: "I would like to reiterate our thanks to the university, its staff and students for their calm response and their assistance with our investigation."

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