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Friday, 23 August, 2002, 18:39 GMT 19:39 UK
Parents relive son's gun death
Mark and Wendy Sheffield
Matthew's parents want air weapons banned
The parents of a 14-year-old Teesside boy shot dead by a friend wielding an air rifle, say they are finally starting to remember the good times they spent with their son.

Matthew Sheffield, from Eaglescliffe in Stockton-on-Tees, died after his friend Daryl John Allison fired an airgun at his head on 29 April last year.

Allison was convicted of manslaughter at Newcastle Crown Court on 20 August.

Speaking for the first time about their ordeal, Matthew's parents, Mark and Wendy, said they have only now managed to rid themselves of the "horrific images" of the wounds that killed their son.

Matthew Sheffield, 14
Matthew died from a single wound to the head

Allison was 13 when he shot Matthew in the garden of his home in Croft Road, Eaglescliffe after he and his older brother Trevor found their father's airgun.

Mark Sheffield said: "It's finally getting easier in that we can remember the good things about Matthew now.

"For the first year all we could remember was that wound in the front of his head.

"That dreadful night, sitting watching him die was such a vivid thing to see, that that's all you remember.

'Loved adventure'

"But now time is moving on a bit and we can distance that and go back to thinking more of the good things we did together."

Matthew was shot when a garden prank went wrong.

Wendy Sheffield added: "Matthew would have known we would have disapproved of him using any kind of a gun.

"But he was the sort of boy who loved adventure and would have loved having a go of a gun, I'm sure."

The couple have now called for tougher controls on the use of air weapons.

Mr Sheffield said: "There was an element of these kids not knowing how dangerous the gun was.

Weapons banned

"This wasn't a mad, crazed lunatic. It was just another kid. Action needs to happen now."

Mrs Sheffield added: "What does the government think people are using weapons for? It just seems ridiculous.

"They should bring in the same regulations that they have for other weapons so you need a license.

"Even better, these weapons need to be out of circulation."

Allison will be sentenced at a later date.

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 ON THIS STORY
Mark and Wendy Sheffield
"There's just a hole in our lives where Matthew was"

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See also:

20 Aug 02 | England
10 Jul 02 | UK
08 Jul 02 | England
02 Jul 02 | England
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