Couple jailed for drive-by shootings

A SUFFOLK man and his girlfriend who were involved in a drive-by shooting campaign which damaged cars, homes and left a man injured have each been jailed for eight months.

A SUFFOLK man and his girlfriend who were involved in a drive-by shooting campaign which damaged cars, homes and left a man injured have each been jailed for eight months.

Ryan Jefferies, 21, and his girlfriend Megan Lawrence, 19, took part in a “campaign of vandalism” in which two BB guns were used to damage 40 cars and several windows of houses around Suffolk on a single day last October, Ipswich Crown Court heard.

A 21-year-old man was also hit in the face with a pellet as he was walking along Landseer Road, said Robert Sadd prosecuting.

Jefferies and Lawrence, who were living in Edwin Avenue, Woodbridge, both admitted 13 offences of criminal damage, common assault and possession of an imitation firearm.

Sentencing them both to custodial sentences of eight months, Judge Neil McKittrick said although the incidents of criminal damage were - with one exception - not of high value, they had caused considerable inconvenience and possible danger to owners.

The judge said the vandalism covered a large area and included houses and cars in Eye, Needham Market, Grundisburgh, Orford, Kirton, Felixstowe and Levington.

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He said the most serious incident was the assault on 21-year-old Matthew Rackman who had been walking along Landseer Road, Ipswich.

“He felt something hit his face and had a mark to his face and suffered some migraines afterwards,” said the judge.

Judge McKittrick said he found it “unacceptable” that although the defendants had known for seven months they were coming to court they had not made any great effort to save money which could be paid as compensation to their victims.

After hearing the couple had recently moved into a rented flat together and most of their income went on rent and household bills, the judge said: “They have put their joint interests before those of their victims and that is unacceptable.”

A third defendant, Luke Berry, 19, of Edwin Avenue, Woodbridge, also admitted 13 offences of criminal damage and possession of an imitation firearm and will be sentenced at a later date.

All three defendants asked for 51 offences to be taken into consideration.

Mr Sadd told the court that only one of the BB guns used on October 14 had been recovered.

A firearm expert who examined it described it as looking like a proper hand gun.

He said the gun, which was powered by gas, could fire ball bearings at 250mph.

Mr Sadd said the total damage caused to property including the offences to be taken into consideration was in the region of £8,000.

Joanne Eley, for Jefferies and Lawrence accepted they had taken part in a campaign of vandalism and said they were apologetic.

She said the offences had happened when they had time on their hands. “It was very common for them to drive around Suffolk to while away spare time,” she said.

The couple were now both working long hours and had moved into rented accommodation in Melton.

Jefferies no longer had a car and they had learned their lesson.

Miss Eley said Jefferies apologised to Mr Rackman for his injury.

She said that it had never been intended for anyone to be injured but Jefferies accepted he should have foreseen that somebody could have been injured.

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