A great-grandfather was today jailed for three years after accidentally shooting dead his six-year-old great-grandson with an air rifle from just a few feet away.
Albert Grannon, 78, first told police the pellet must have ricocheted as he checked the weapon at his home in the East Yorkshire village of Sproatley on July 26 last year.
But expert analysis showed the shot went directly into the abdomen of his football-mad great-grandson Stanley Metcalf, who shouted: ‘You shot me, granddad.’
The boy’s devastated mother Jenny Dees said she has not received an apology from Grannon nearly one year on, as he was sentenced at Sheffield Crown Court today.
Stanley’s father Andrew said he had lost his ‘best friend and shadow’ and asked Grannon: ‘Why didn’t you check that gun, why did you point it at Stanley? Why did you take my little boy away?’
Grannon, who bought the air rifle for £90, was jailed for three years for manslaughter and four months for possessing a firearm without a licence, to run concurrently.
The judge, Mr Justice Lavender, told Grannon: ‘You ended a young life and you brought lifelong grief and misery to his parents and to the whole of his family.’
He told Grannon, who showed no emotion as he stood to be sentenced: ‘What you did was obviously a very dangerous thing to do. Why on Earth did you do it?’
John Elvidge QC, prosecuting, told the court how the tragedy happened at a family gathering at the defendant’s home which was held every year to mark the death of one of his sons, 16 years ago.
Mr Elvidge said that Stanley asked to see the .22 calibre weapon and went inside with his great-grandfather.
Family members outside the house then heard a loud bang, the prosecutor said.
Mr Elvidge said that the youngster said ‘you shot me, granddad’ after the gun went off.
The prosecutor said that the defendant had a habit of keeping the adapted air rifle loaded in a cupboard to shoot vermin.
The weapon needed a firearms certificate but he did not apply because he thought he would not get one due to disabilities.
Stanley’s mother, Jenny Dees, said of the defendant, who is her grandfather: ‘Not once did he say sorry. Now, if he did, it would be meaningless, too little, too late.’
Ms Dees read an emotional statement to court after placing a photo of Stanley in front of her in the witness box.
She said that, immediately after the incident, she felt sorry for her grandfather but she told the judge: ‘I don’t feel sorry for him now.’
Paul Genney, defending, told the court that, despite the views of Stanley parents, Grannon ‘blames himself totally’.
Mr Justice Lavender asked Mr Genney if he would make one last effort to get Grannon to explain exactly what happened during the fatal incident and adjourned the case for a short time.
Mr Genney returned to court and described how his client accepted that he pointed the gun at Stanley as he squeezed the trigger to check the gun was not loaded ‘but not, of course, deliberately’.
The court heard how Stanley’s extended family had been split by the incident and some relatives sat in the court while others were in the overhanging public gallery.
Many were in tears as the sentence was passed. As he was taken down, one woman shouted from the balcony: ‘Love you Dad.’
Humberside Police previously said Grannon, who is on bail, had shown no remorse until he pleaded guilty at a court hearing last month.
Miss Dees had earlier called for Mr Justice Lavender to send her grandfather to prison.
She said: ‘For me, I don’t believe he should be coming home. I do believe he does need to go to prison and take responsibility for the death of my son. He caused the death of my son.’
Miss Dees said that in the 11 months since Stanley’s death, Grannon has not shown any remorse or apologised.
She said: ‘I have had no remorse shown to me. I have had no apology and that is unbearable and unbelievable to see.
‘I loved and respected my granddad so much and the day Stanley died I thought he would come to me and say he was sorry, why wouldn’t he? But he didn’t.
‘People say he is in shock and that he will say sorry afterwards. We are nearly up to a year now and he hasn’t.
‘I do believe that if you cause the death of somebody, regardless of whether you meant to or not, there should be a punishment in place and that is going to prison.’