Teenager who shot former friend is found guilty of attempted murder

Teenager, 16, who shot friend, 15, in the face from 5ft away with double-barrelled shotgun as he walked to school is found guilty of attempted murder

  • A 15-year-old who loved guns and video games shot his best friend in the face 
  • The teenager was flown to Addenbrooke’s Hospital where his life was saved
  • The defendant was found guilty of attempted murder after a six-week trial 

A teenager who blasted a former friend in the face from five feet away with his grandfather’s shotgun has been convicted of attempted murder.

The 16-year-old, who loved guns and violent video games, shot the boy as he walked to school and left him for dead in a pool of blood in Kesgrave, near Ipswich, Suffolk.

A ballistic expert later found that the muzzle of the gun was between 1.6ft and 5.7ft from the victim’s face when the single shot was fired at ‘very close range’. 

The teenager today stood impassively in the dock wearing a face mask as he heard he had been found guilty of the attempted murder of the 15-year-old after a six-week trial at Ipswich Crown Court.

The teenager, who was then aged 15, stole his grandfather’s gun during a visit for Sunday lunch and the next day took his father’s car on a mission to kill the boy on the first day of term on September 7 last year.

The teenager waited outside his victim’s home and, when the victim stepped outside his front door, pulled the trigger. The shooting left him with devastating injuries to his face, jaw and neck.

The 16-year-old, who loved guns and violent video games, shot the boy as he walked to school and left him for dead in a pool of blood in Kesgrave, near Ipswich, Suffolk. Pictured, police search the area following the shooting

The victim was flown by air ambulance to Addenbrooke’s Hospital, Cambridge, and his life was only saved by prompt and expert medical care.

But his injuries caused him to have a stroke, which has left him partially paralysed and with difficulties ‘processing some subtleties of language’.

The teenager told jurors that he only meant to frighten the boy in revenge for having been ‘bullied and humiliated’ by him for years, and the gun had gone off by accident.

But the prosecution said he had been on ‘a power trip’ and acting out a long standing fantasy to try and kill the boy he secretly hated.

The teenager denied attempted murder and possessing a shotgun with intent to endanger life.

The jury deliberated for 22 hours and 38 minutes over five days to find him guilty of attempted murder by a majority of 11 to one and unanimously guilty of intent to endanger life.

He was found not guilty of possessing a shotgun with intent to cause fear of violence against one of his victim’s neighbour who claimed that he had the gun pointed at him.

The teenager who lives near Woodbridge, Suffolk, had earlier admitted possessing the shotgun with intent to cause fear of violence against the boy.

Judge Martyn Levett adjourned sentencing until September 3 for psychiatric reports on the teenager to be prepared and for up to date reports on the long term effects of the victim’s injuries.

The judge said he also wanted to hear statements from the victim’s family and others impacted by the shooting.

He remanded the teenager in custody, telling him: ‘The fact that I am adjourning this is not to be taken as an indication of any type of sentence I will pass.

‘In view of the fact that it’s a serious offence, it is likely to be a lengthy period of custody.’

The trial at Ipswich Crown Court (pictured) heard how the two boys had been close friends since primary school, but had begun to grown apart

The trial heard how the two boys had been close friends since primary school, but had begun to grown apart.

The teenager who knew how to use guns as he had been clay pigeon shooting with his grandfather since the age of 12 had started telling another friend how he wanted to shoot someone in October 2019.

The other boy thought the teenager was joking as he talked of his plans to carry out a murder or take a family hostage, and then flee on a yacht or cruise ship to the United States or Guatemala.

The teenager first told the other boy that he wanted to kill their mutual friend in December 2019, and then talked of it repeatedly, saying he wanted to shoot him in the face with his grandfather’s gun after stealing his father’s car.

The pair were on a cycle ride on September 6 when the teenager revealed he would carry out his plan the next day.

The other boy assumed that his friend was fantasising once again until he realised the next day that the teenager had acted out the plan.

The court heard how the 15-year-old had gone to his grandfather’s home in Ipswich for Sunday lunch just hours before his cycle ride.

His grandfather was watching television downstairs when he was able to take the double barrelled Beretta 12 bore shotgun from a locked cabinet in a bedroom as he knew where the key was kept.

The teenager put the gun in a sling in the garage so he could return in the early hours and pick it up.

He got up at 4am the next day, and packed a bag with clothes, deodorant and an electric shaver, and a second bag with his school uniform, before taking his father’s car and driving back to his grandfather’s home.

The boy knew the number combination to access a key safe on the wall to get the key to the garage, and picked up the gun along with 26 cartridges of ammunition.

He drove to Rendlesham forest near Woodbridge to watch the sun come up, and messaged his friend to say he would meet him outside his home so they could walk to school together.

The teenager who had been taught to drive by his father then lay in wait outside his victim’s home for 90 minutes.

He was sitting on the open boot of the car when the boy walked out of his house in his school uniform and carrying his rucksack at 8.40am.

The teenager greeted him with the words, ‘Hola amigo’, the Spanish phrase for ‘Hi friend’, and grabbed the loaded gun from the back seat.

The puzzled victim asked what he was doing with his father’s car and the gun, before the teenager pointed it directly at his face and pulled the trigger. 

The teenager yelled ‘Run’ at a 13-year-old girl who was walking past on her way to school and pointed the gun directly at the neighbour of the boy who looked out of a window, forcing him to duck

The court heard how his victim’s mother heard the shot as she was getting dressed for work and looked out of her bedroom window to see her son collapsed on the road in a pool of blood.

She screamed repeatedly ‘What have you done?, What have you done?’ as the teenager held up the gun to show it to her with ‘a righteous and almost smug look’ on his face.

The teenager yelled ‘run’ at a 13-year-old girl who was walking past on her way to school and pointed the gun (pictured) directly at the neighbour of the boy who looked out of a window, forcing him to duck

The teenager drove away, leaving the boy for dead, as the ‘inconsolable’ mother rushed out with other family members and used towels to stem the blood from her son’s wounds.

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’. 

A neighbour recalled the teenager ‘not being in a rush’ as he left, saying: ‘He was really calm as if he knew what he was doing. He was not shaking. He just didn’t seem to care less about what had happened.’

The teenager went back to his grandfather’s house, throwing away his mobile phone on the way so he could not be tracked by police, but he did not go in and instead sat in the parked car outside.

He 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’. 

Armed police found him with his head in his hands two hours after the shooting, and smashed the windows of the car to get him out after ordering him to put his hands up.

When told that he was being arrested for shooting someone in the face he smiled and said: ‘I am 100% guilty of that.’

The teenager also told an officer, ‘I done what I wanted to do, scummy as it is so I will be 100% co-operative with you.’

He went on to compliment the police for showing restraint and not shooting him, saying their actions ‘made him proud to be British’.

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.

Giving evidence in court, the teenager had claimed that he wanted to scare the boy to try and change his behaviour after he had humiliated him in class, in front of their peers.

He said: ‘If I didn’t know the answer to a question, he would make fun of me and make me seem stupid in front of people.

‘There was some physical abuse during term time. He would randomly push me across the head or pull me across a table. It was quite needless.

‘It got more frequent and worse. Mostly it was when other people were present, but other times I would be alone and he would try and make me feel stupid or belittle me.

‘It damaged my self confidence a lot and I was feeling upset. I developed anxiety and had panic attacks about going back to school.’

But the prosecution told the court that any bullying was only of a ‘low level’, and had not been reported at his school.

Jurors also heard that the teenager gave as good as he got also sometimes used bullying or threatening language against the boy he shot.

One recovered Snapchat message which he sent to his victim six months before the shooting, featured a video of him waving a BB gun and saying: ‘I will shoot you, I will I promise.’

Other saved Snapchat messages on the victim’s phone showed that the teenager had sent him a series of messaged in the middle of the night a week before the shooting, saying: ‘How is my favourite fatty doing?/Answer/Me/Boy/mmm, so you have chosen death.’

He also sent the boy pictures of Top Gear hosts Jeremy Clarkson and James May carrying guns during a sketch as they played the parts of secret agents in a spoof segment of the show called The Interceptors in which they tested a classic Jensen Interceptor sports car.

The teenager was said to have been a big fan of violent computer games such as Call of Duty and Grand Theft Auto and had also sent another friend gory videos off the internet including one of an ISIS beheading, even after his friend had told him not do it.

The trial heard evidence that the he was prone to angry outbursts, and had been in a road rage incident while on a cycle ride with his other friend on the day before the shooting.

He was said to have screamed abuse at a motorist he believed had come too close while overtaking them. When the driver drove back to ask what his problem was, he shouted at him: ‘I’ll put you in the ground.’

Prosecutors said the incident showed him being ‘confident, angry and prepared to engage in confrontation’ in contrast to the image he painted of himself in court as being someone who was bullied and belittled.

Giving evidence, the teenager claimed that he wanted to force the boy into his father’s car and drive him to Rendlesham forest before scaring him by firing the gun near him.

Asked why he had loaded the gun, the teenager explained: ‘I thought it would be more convenient if he tried to escape or attack me, and I could fire a warning shot.

‘The reason I wanted to frighten him was because of all the humiliation and fear he had caused me. I wanted to make hm understand how he made me feel for many years.

‘I was hoping that he would be in such a state that he would not imagine doing anything like that again. I thought I would change him.’

The teenager insisted the gun had fired accidentally when he pointed it at the other boy while trying to get him into the car.

He said: ‘I was incredibly panicky and very stressed. I could feel I was tensing up at the time.

‘There is no way I can be certain how the trigger was actually pulled. It was not deliberate. When the shot went off, it took me a little by surprise. I didn’t expect it to go off.

‘It felt like everything was in slow motion and after a few seconds I became aware he was on the ground.’

But prosecutor Matthew Sorel-Cameron said there was no need to have loaded the gun and turned off the safety catch if his intention was to simply scare the victim.

He said witnesses had not heard the boy admonishing the boy for his alleged bullying before shooting him.

Mr Sorel-Cameron said the shooting followed the plan that the teenager had told his other friend ‘almost to the letter’, and showed that he had ‘intended to shoot to kill’ by aiming deliberately at his face.

He told jurors how the teenager appeared to be in ‘control’ after the shooting, ordering the schoolgirl witness to run and pointing the gun at a neighbour before he drove away while ‘showing no signs of flapping or panic’.

Mr Sorel-Cameron also pointed to the teenager’s apparent lack of remorse and concern for the victim when he was arrested.

He said the victim did not realise that his friend actually ‘hated him’ and had a plan to kill him.

Mr Sorel-Cameron told jurors: ‘How that hatred started or whether it was justified may not be something that the prosecution and defence can agree upon. It may not matter.

‘What is not in question is that this hatred was real. It had festered for years, one party unaware of it and the other obsessed by it.’

Ballistics tests also revealed that the over and under shotgun had a firm trigger which required 4lbs of pressure to fire a shot.

The teenager 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 the judge Martyn Levett.

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

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