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Suffolk man shot in the leg after air rifle discharged during row with step-son

PUBLISHED: 19:00 12 April 2019

The three defendants appeared at Ipswich Crown Court Picture: GREGG BROWN

The three defendants appeared at Ipswich Crown Court Picture: GREGG BROWN

A Suffolk man had surgery to remove a pellet from his leg after an air rifle was discharged during a row with his step-son, a court has heard.

Lewis Barham armed himself with the air rifle and pointed it at Timothy Rhodes at the family home in Bramfield and told him: “I’m going to shoot you in the eye,” Ipswich Crown Court was told.

Barham had become upset after hearing an exchange between his mother and told Mr Rhodes he didn’t like the way he was talking to his mother, said Richard Potts, prosecuting.

As Barham was pointing the air rifle directly at his face, Mr Rhodes told him: “Go on shoot me then” and had then grabbed hold of the barrel.

As he did so the air rifle fired a pellet into Mr Rhodes’ thigh and he later underwent surgery to have it removed.

Barham had left the house and was arrested nearby by police, said Mr Potts.

He was taken to a police investigation centre and chose not to answer answer questions put to him by officers.

Barham, 24, of Henley Road, Norwich, admitted assaulting Mr Rhodes causing him actual bodily harm on August 8 2017.

He was given an 18 month prison sentence suspended for 12 months and a 25 day rehabilitation activity requirement.

Guy Williamson, for Barham, said his client had a history of mental health issues and had been diagnosed with schizoaffective disorder.

He said Barham had initially gone into his brother’s bedroom to look look for a baton in a wardrobe but had found the air rifle.

Mr Williamson said his client hadn’t intended to fire the air rifle at Mr Rhodes or to harm him and hadn’t deliberately fired it at him.

“He bitterly regrets the pain, anguish and distress he has caused Mr Rhodes and his mother,” he said.

Mr Williamson told the court that Barham had been awarded a music scholarship at St Felix School and had obtained a number of A and A* grades in his GCSE’s.

He was unable to take A levels or complete a university degree because of ill health.

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