A WORLD champion boxing coach has avoided jail after being caught with a gun at Manchester Airport.

Brian McIntyre, 53, forgot that a Smith and Wesson automatic self-loading pistol was in a zip compartment of his suitcase when he flew in from the US in August.

McIntyre, based in Omaha, Nebraska, is the long-term coach of undefeated world champion Terence Crawford and arrived in the UK to prepare Chris Eubank Jr for his fight with Liam Smith.

Officials at Manchester Airport discovered the firearm, with seven rounds of ammunition, as McIntyre went through security ahead of his return flight on September 3, Manchester Crown Court heard.

After hearing about McIntyre’s work in the community and listening to a number of character witnesses, Judge Nicholas Dean KC imposed a 20-month jail term, suspended for two years.

Judge Dean said McIntyre was a “thoroughly good man” and said the “exceptional circumstances” of the case had merited a departure from the usual five-year minimum jail term.

Northwich Guardian: Boxing trainer Brian McIntyre (centre) leaves Manchester Crown Court with boxer Terence Crawford (right)Boxing trainer Brian McIntyre (centre) leaves Manchester Crown Court with boxer Terence Crawford (right) (Image: PA)

David Toal, prosecuting, said the gun and ammunition were discovered after it passed through scanners at Terminal 2 just before 9.45am.

Bodyworn footage from a Border Force officer was played to the court, in which McIntyre says: “I swear to God man, I didn’t know that gun was in the bag.”

McIntyre was arrested and later told police it was a “honest mistake and I deeply regret this”.

In his basis of plea, accepted by the Crown Prosecution Service, the defendant said the gun and ammunition never left his suitcase while he was in the UK.

He had packed the firearm when travelling to Crawford’s training camp ahead of his world title bout with Errol Spence in Las Vegas in late July before arriving in Manchester on August 19.

Paul Greaney KC, defending, said McIntyre and Crawford had set up the B&B Sports Academy, a not-for-profit organisation based in Omaha where “gangs and crime are rife”.

He said: “What these two men have established in Omaha is a remarkable achievement.”

Hundreds of pages of testimonials to the good character of McIntyre, who has no previous convictions or cautions, were presented to the judge including from the chief of police in Omaha.

Crawford entered the witness box and told the court that he had known McIntyre all his life and that he trained him from the age of seven.

Northwich Guardian: Boxer Terence Crawford outside Manchester Crown Court Boxer Terence Crawford outside Manchester Crown Court (Image: PA)

Sentencing McIntyre, who had been in custody since his arrest at the airport, Judge Dean said: “It is clear to me that you have a great deal to be proud of in your life.

“That is self-evidently so since a large number of people have chosen at their own expense to come from the United State to speak about you in a way that has been authentic and impressive if I may say so.

“But you now have something you will be ashamed of for the rest of your life.

“You were sufficiently careless to carry into this country a firearm, a prohibited weapon. You did not know you had done so but when you were leaving this jurisdiction through Manchester Airport that firearm was detected.”

He went on: “You didn’t know it was there when you were in this country. You didn’t use it in any way.

“You are a man of effective good character, You are testament to the redemptive power of boxing as a discipline. That power is a bit of a cliche but nevertheless manifestly a truth.

“You are, in short, a good man. A thoroughly good man."

McIntyre was ordered to pay prosecution costs of £1,080.