Lakenheath man who shot friend thought gun was empty

Court crest
Court crest

Christian Gather claimed he had not realised an air rifle was loaded when he shot a friend in the leg.

Gaither, 20, of High Street, Lakenheath,was sentenced to six months in a Young Offenders Institution suspended for 12 months and placed under Probation Service supervision for 12 months.

Ipswich Crown Court heard today that though Gaither had checked that there was no pellet in the barrel, one had somehow slipped in so when he pointed the weapon towards the floor and fired it, the pellet struck Kai Lewis in the ankle as he moved his foot.

Earlier Gaither had been out target shooting and had also been using an air pistol to shoot at targets on his bedroom wall, said Godfried Duah, prosecuting.

Another friend had warned Gaither to check the air rifle was not loaded before discharging it inside the house and he believed that he had done that, said David Wilson, defending.

The incident had, in essence, been an accident, said Mr Wilson, but should not have happened.

In addition, Judge Martyn Levett ordered Gaither to pay £400 prosecution costs, £175 compensation to Mr Lewis and to forfeit both air weapons.

Judge Levett told Gaither: “I have to tell you, whether they are more lethal weapons or air rifles, they [guns] can cause serious injuries when fired in a reckless manner.”