Teenager guilty of attempted murder after shooting 15-year-old in face

25 June 2021, 19:55

The 15-year-old was shot in the face as he walked to school in Kesgrave, near Ipswich, on 7 September last year
The 15-year-old was shot in the face as he walked to school in Kesgrave, near Ipswich, on 7 September last year. Picture: PA

By Daisy Stephens

A teenager who shot a 15-year-old boy in the face with a double-barrelled shotgun as he walked to school has been found guilty of his attempted murder.

The victim, who had known the defendant since primary school, was blasted from less than 1.5 metres away, a trial at Ipswich Crown Court heard.

He was shot while walking to school in Kesgrave, near Ipswich, on 7 September last year on the first day back since the first national lockdown.

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The 16-year-old defendant said in his evidence that he wanted to "scare" the boy, who had caused him "humiliation and fear", and that he fired the gun unintentionally.

A friend said, in a police video interview played to jurors, that the defendant had spoken of a plan to shoot the boy, but the friend added he did not think he was being serious.

He said the teenager "adored" a computer game in which players shoot people, which is "hyper-realistic in its violence".

The defendant took his father's car and drove to the location where he lay in wait for the boy for more than an hour before he shot him with his grandfather's Beretta, prosecutor Riel Karmy-Jones QC said.

Air ambulance doctor Chloe Baker said the child's gunshot wound "extended across his lower right face and the right front area of his neck, and the bone and teeth of his right jaw were largely absent".

Ms Karmy-Jones described the boy's injuries as "devastating and life-changing", adding that he was left "partially paralysed".

The injured boy's mother screamed "what have you done" three times in a CCTV clip played to the court.

A witness said the defendant appeared "very calm, very cool, very collected" after the shooting and "didn't seem to have any urgency about him".

He drove from the scene and was arrested later that morning by armed police as he sat in the parked car five miles away in Ipswich, with officers describing him as "smiling".

In police bodycam footage played to the court, the teenager told officers: "I've done what I wanted to do, as scummy as it is."

He also told officers that the arrest was "exciting".

The defendant said he was referring to "being arrested in such a dramatic fashion" and that this was "my way of distracting myself from what happened".

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Prosecutors said the boys had remained friends despite "playful fighting", and described this as "nothing serious", but the defendant said he was caused "humiliation and fear" by the victim.

Detective Superintendent David Henderson, the senior investigating officer, said: "This was a truly shocking incident, the like of which I have never encountered before - particularly due to the age of the parties involved.

"The victim has suffered lifelong injuries as a result of this attack, which has been devastating for him and his family - some of whom had the additional trauma of going to his aid immediately after the shooting occurred.

"The guilty verdicts today may provide justice for the victim and his family, but this is just the beginning of a very long journey for them all.

"The victim had everything to look forward to in life that a teenager should have, but this attack has certainly robbed him of the remainder of his childhood and will likely impact on him well into his adult life."

The defendant, from Woodbridge, was found guilty of a further offence of possession of a shotgun with intent to endanger the boy's life.

He was found not guilty of possession of a shotgun with intent to cause fear of injury to one of the boy's neighbours, who the weapon was allegedly pointed at.

The defendant previously admitted to possession of a shotgun with intent to cause fear of injury to the boy.

A charge of unlawfully wounding the boy with intent to cause him grievous bodily harm was vacated by judge Martyn Levett.

The defendant will be remanded in custody until his sentencing on Friday 3 September.