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Wednesday, 23 October, 2002, 11:24 GMT 12:24 UK
National support for airgun campaign
Nicola Diston shortly after the attack
Nicola Diston was blinded in her left eye
Airgun campaigners say they have received support from local authorities across the country in their campaign to tighten the law on air weapon ownership.

Last year, Nicola Diston,16, was shot in the head in the Leam Lane area of Gateshead by two youths with an airgun.

She was blinded in one eye and the pellet is still lodged in her brain.

The incident prompted Gateshead Council to call for airgun licensing and for a ban on youngsters using the weapons.


They are dangerous weapons and they should be treated like dangerous weapons - they are not toys

Sandra Brudenall, Nicola's mother

Councillor Peter Mole contacted every council leader in Britain urging them to back their campaign.

Fifty local authorities have offered their support, but eight have said they can see no reason for a change in the law.

Councillor Malcolm Graham, of Gateshead Council, said: "These weapons can be bought from all over the place.

"Owners should be at least 18-years-old and have a licence from their local police station before they can own one of these potential lethal weapons.

"These things are not toys... people have been killed and people have been maimed by them.

"I think our campaign can make a difference."

Unlawful wounding

Nicola was shot in the eye in November 2001 by two teenagers who were later jailed.

Daniel Lumsden, 18, of Donside, Leam Lane, Gateshead, and 17-year-old Damon Davison of Sheraton, also Leam Lane, admitted unlawfully wounding Nicola.

Lumsden was jailed for two-and-a-half years, and Davison given an 18-month detention and training order at Newcastle Crown Court in March.

Nicola's mother, Sandra Brudenall helped collect 18,500 signatures for a petition campaigning to tighten airgun laws, which has been sent to 10 Downing Street.

She told BBC Radio Newcastle the campaign was an important one.

Future problems

"I just hope it does make a difference, I really do.

"I think there has got to be a change in the law to stop these guns from getting into teenagers hands.

"They are dangerous weapons and they should be treated like dangerous weapons - they are not toys."

Ms Brudenall said the future remained uncertain for her daughter.

"It is like living with a timebomb because she's got a pellet lodged right beside her brain.

"The specialists have got no idea about what the future holds for Nicola.

"If scar tissue builds and builds, it could put pressure onto her brain which could cause further problems for her in later life."


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See also:

18 Sep 02 | Politics
17 Sep 02 | England
08 Jul 02 | England
02 Jul 02 | England
27 Mar 02 | England
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