Kesgrave shooting teen 'desensitised' by violent video games

A white police forensics tent at the scene of the shooting in Friends Walk, Kesgrave. Picture: SARAH

A white police forensics tent at the scene of the shooting in Friends Walk, Kesgrave. Picture: SARAH LUCY BROWN - Credit: Archant

A 16-year-old boy who lay in wait for a friend and shot him in the face at close range in Kesgrave, causing devastating injuries, had become 'desensitised' by playing violent video games, a court has been told.

Diana Ellis QC, for the teenager, told his sentencing hearing at Ipswich Crown Court, on Monday, that he had been introduced to violent games, suitable for over 18s, since the age of nine and had then gone on to violent reality games.

“His life outside school seems to have involved watching these very violent games,” said Miss Ellis.

The boy, who was 15 at the time of the shooting, in Friends Walk, Kesgrave, in September last year, was found guilty of attempted murder by a jury in June after a month-long trial.

The teenager, who cannot be named because of his age, was also found guilty of possessing a shotgun with intent to endanger life. 

He was due to have been sentenced last month but the hearing was adjourned after Judge Martyn Levett learned that, while the boy was in custody three weeks after the shooting, he said he would “probably kill again” and “would like to be famous for chemical warfare".

The judge said he would have to consider whether the comments were "bravado".

Miss Ellis said her client would have to live with the knowledge of the consequences of his actions on the day of the shooting.

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She said he had expressed regret and remorse for what he did during his trial, to those who had prepared reports on him and to his family.

She said the fact that the victim was alive today was due to the “hugely impressive” work by medical staff immediately following the shooting.

Miss Ellis said that, more than a year after the shooting, her client now “truly appreciated” the impact of his behaviour on the victim, the victim’s family, his own family and the local community.

In relation to the motive for the attack, she claimed the defendant’s life had become “intolerable” due to bullying he’d experienced at the hands of the victim almost his entire school life.

She said her client had always said he felt “humiliated and belittled” by the victim and, over the summer holidays, he had ruminated about his feelings and dread of facing him again.

She said she would not be doing justice to her client’s case if she didn’t draw the court’s attention to the bullying claims, which were backed up by an independent witness.

She said he was an only child brought up by his mother, who had mental health issues and problems with alcohol.

Miss Ellis said a medical expert had found the defendant’s mental health had deteriorated since the age of 13 and he had been suffering from depression at the time of the shooting.

During the teenager’s trial, the court heard that the shooting took place as the victim was walking to school on September 7 last year, on the first day back since the first national lockdown.

Riel Karmy-Jones QC said the defendant had taken his grandfather’s double barrelled shotgun before driving to Friends Walk, in Grange Farm, Kesgrave, in his father’s car.

There he lay in wait for more than an hour, and when he saw the boy at about 8.40am, he ordered him to get in the car.

The boy, also aged 15, refused and was then shot at close range, resulting in a “significant" injury to the side of his face. 

The court heard that he recalled hearing a bang and falling to the ground and seeing the defendant standing nearby looking “calm and collected and not bothered”.

He suffered a stroke after being taken to hospital and had been left partially paralysed with some brain damage and wasn’t fit enough to attend the trial.

Experts estimated that the muzzle of the gun was between 0.75m and 1.5m away from the victim’s face when it was fired.

A friend of both boys later told police that he had been planning the attack for a year but had wrongly assumed he was joking.

Police located the car the teenager had been driving in Ipswich two hours later and had to smash the window to get him out. 

A Beretta double-barrelled shotgun was found in the car along with two boxes of shotgun cartridges. 

When the teenager was told he was being arrested on suspicion of attempted murder, he told officers: "I am 100% guilty of that. I've done what I wanted to do – scummy as it is.”

Giving evidence during the trial, he denied deliberately firing the gun at the victim and said he had planned to kidnap him and threaten him with a gun to teach him a lesson. 

The court heard that, since the attack, the victim, who had known the defendant since primary school, had undergone 15 operations, including major surgery on his jaw and skull.

He could now walk short distances but was unable to use his left arm and required support for day-to-day activities.