Man jailed for BB gun shooting - Hoddesdon

17/12/2013

A young man who shot a teenager in the face and head with a BB gun in the car park of the Sainbury store in Hoddesdon has today, Tuesday, 16 December 2013, been jailed up for six years.

John Bowie, 20, fired off a number of shots with the gun at close distance to his victim. One ball bearing passed through the upper left lip of the teenager and smashed his incisor tooth.

At St Albans Crown Court Bowie, who was 19 at the time, appeared for sentence having earlier pleaded guilty to possessing an imitation firearm with intent and assault occasioning actual bodily harm (ABH).

Alex Krickler prosecuting said the shooting happened at around 8.45 on the evening of 15 May 2012.

The court was told around a month earlier the defendant had stolen a watch belonging to the victim's younger brother. Because the older brother knew Bowie, he contacted him to try and get it back, saying it was worth around £500.

The prosecutor said that, as a result, Bowie from Coxens Lane West, Broxbourne, agreed to pay the brother £200 after telling him it had been sold. The court then heard how on 15 May the victim spotted the defendant in the car park of the Sainsbury store in Hoddesdon and asked about the money.

"The defendant told him to stay there and he would come with the money that he owed," said Mr Krickler.

That evening the two met in the car park. Bowie was standing beside a white van. Mr Krickler said as the victim approached, Bowie pulled out a BB gun from his pocket telling the teenager: "Go away or you're going to get shot."

In fact, said the prosecutor, the teenager had quickly concluded the gun not to be real and challenged Bowie by saying: "Shoot me."

Judge John Plumstead hearing the case was told Bowie did just that shooting the boy in his right forearm and causing considerable pain to him.

"The victim tried to disarm him and ran towards Bowie and was then shot a number of times with the gun," said Mr Krickler, who said that Bowie then jumped in the van and drove off.

The court heard the boy had been shot in his shoulder, the right side of his head and one ball bearing had gone through his lip smashing into the tooth. The prosecutor said the teenager's GP had reported that since the shooting he had suffered post traumatic stress disorder and was subject to panic attacks, depression and flashbacks. He was also said to be in need of psychotherapy and was suffering nightmares.

Mr Krickler said on the night of the shooting the teenager was taken to hospital where he received a text message from Bowie which said: "Bruv I didn't want to have to do it. I told you I would give you the p's when I had it, but you tried banging me and would have smashed me up in a one on one so I had to use tools."

He was arrested two days later and the gun was never recovered. The court heard that while in custody awaiting sentence, Bowie has become a Christian in an effort to change his ways.

Sentencing him to six years imprisonment, Judge Plumstead told him: "This was deliberate and genuinely very dangerous behaviour."

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