Two hit in ballbearing attack

A YOUNG Felixstowe dockworker who shot a cyclist in the leg and a woman in the bottom said it was a "teenage prank", a court heard.Ashley Taylor, of The Walk, drove his two friends around Felixstowe while each of them was armed with a ball bearing gun.

A YOUNG Felixstowe dockworker who shot a cyclist in the leg and a woman in the bottom said it was a "teenage prank", a court heard.

Ashley Taylor, of The Walk, drove his two friends around Felixstowe while each of them was armed with a ball bearing gun.

They shot "indiscriminately" at those they passed.

Taylor, an 18-year-old import clerk at the port, shot David Miller as he cycled along the road at around 8pm.

Stephen Colman, prosecuting at South East Suffolk Magistrate's Court, said: "Mr Miller heard a bang then felt a stinging sensation in his left calf. "He was a bit confused as to what happened to cause the searing pain in his leg."

Mr Miller then heard another bang but did not feel any pain this time, and realised the shot had missed him.

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"He feared he was in danger as the car got closer. But after it drove away he cycled home and called the police," added Mr Colman.

Taylor also shot Alison Leveridge as she stood outside a fast food shop near the sea front, on November 20 last year.

Mr Colman said: "She heard a banging noise and then felt pain in her upper left buttock area. She felt she had been stabbed with a needle."

The court heard that Ms Leveridge turned around and saw a small red car driving off towards the leisure centre.

Both victims checked their injuries when they returned home and found small red marks, about the size of halfpenny pieces, where they had been hit.

Mark Holt, mitigating for Taylor, said his client had accepted he was not acting as a responsible adult, but added that the ammunition had been plastic pellets rather than metal ball bearings.

"He fully accepts his involvement. It was a teenage prank, but now he realises it was irresponsible," said Mr Holt.

He said Taylor had not been in trouble with the police before and was described by his employer, who knew about the court proceedings, as a "responsible, hardworking young man".

Mr Holt said as part of his punishment Taylor's parents had sold his car.

Taylor was fined £300 and told to pay compensation of £50 to each victim after he admitted three charges of assault. He was also ordered to pay £55 towards court costs.

His two 17-year-old co-defendants, who cannot be named because they are juveniles, were sentenced to three-month referral orders (contracts to behave themselves), and told to pay £50 to each of their victims after one admitted assaulting Mr Miller and Ms Leveridge and the other admitted assaulting Mr Miller.

Magistrates said it was a serious matter and they should think themselves lucky that a vulnerable person was not hit.

The guns were to be forfeited and destroyed.

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