A man left his neighbours’ crying toddler fighting for life after he aimed and fired a loaded air rifle into his head to ‘shut him up’, a court has heard.
Harry Studley, then 18-months-old, was visiting couple Jordan Walters and Emma Horseman’s flat with his mother Amy Allen and brother Riley, two.Miss Allen’s children were crying and Horseman told her partner – who was cleaning his rifle – to ‘shoot Harry just to frighten him, shut him up, shoot it at Harry’, it is alleged.Father-of-two Walters thought the weapon was empty so ‘aimed the gun at Harry and fired it right into Harry’s head’, the jury was told. The bullet penetrated the toddler’s skull and emergency surgery saved his life but ‘it’s not possible to say if he will make a full recovery’, the court heard.
Walters, 24, pleaded guilty to GBH last year, but Horseman, also 24, denied the same charge by aiding and abetting him, and her trial started today.
Opening the case at Bristol Crown Court, prosecutor Andrew Macfarlane, said: ‘The circumstances of this case are both simple and horrifying.
‘Parents in a block of flats in Bristol meet up on one Friday afternoon with their children and within an hour a baby is fighting for his life on his way to hospital.’
He added: ‘While the boys were upset Amy heard Emma say ‘Oh Amy how do you cope with them crying all the time?’
‘She replied ‘easy you just give them attention. You’ve just go to do it’.
‘In fact it was just seconds later while Harry was still crying that Amy heard Emma say “shoot Harry just to frighten him, shut him up, shoot it at Harry”. Then Amy heard the sound of a gun firing.
‘It appeared to Amy that Jordan had aimed the gun at Harry and fired it right into Harry’s head, which is indeed what happened as you will hear.’
Neighbours and college friends Miss Allen and Horseman were meeting in the defendant’s flat to discuss a ‘lending club’ when the incident happened on July 1. Miss Allen brought sons Harry and Riley to the flat in Hartcliffe, Bristol, where Horseman lived with Walters and their sons, then aged two and two-months-old. She watched as Walters took the air rifle – used for shooting rabbits – out of a kitchen cupboard and clean it in front of the children, it was heard. Mr Macfarlane told the jury Miss Allen was attending to Riley, who was upset, when her youngest Harry started to cry because ‘he wanted mummy too’.
The prosecution allege Horseman told Walters to shoot the boy – both thinking the gun was unloaded. Describing the aftermath of the shooting, Mr Macfarlane added: ‘Amy picked him up in her arms.
‘Blood was gushing out of Harry’s head – down and down Amy’s arms. He was in and out of consciousness.’
Harry was taken to Bristol Royal Infirmary by air ambulance and underwent surgery and ‘fortunately his life was saved’, it was heard.
The prosecution allege Horseman – along with her partner – was ‘reckless to the point of extreme’.
The trial, expected to last two days, continues.