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Last Updated: Tuesday, 30 August 2005, 15:01 GMT 16:01 UK
Life sentence for airgun killer
Mark Bonini
Mark Bonini: Expressed "remorse and regret" for his actions
The man who murdered a two-year-old boy with an airgun in Glasgow has been jailed for life and ordered to serve at least 13 years in prison.

Mark Bonini was found guilty three weeks ago of murdering Andrew Morton, who died after being hit on the head by an airgun pellet in Easterhouse.

Bonini, 27, a drug addict, had admitted firing the shot which killed the toddler but denied murder.

Andrew's mother Sharon McMillan said the sentence was "a joke".

Ms McMillan, who described Bonini as "an animal" after he was found guilty, said she wanted him to be jailed for 25 years.

Lord Brodie rejected a defence suggestion that it had been a "tragic accident" and said that the murder had been "wicked, depraved and deliberate".

Sharon McMillan
He will not see his wean's first day at school. Well neither will I because my wean was murdered
Sharon McMillan
Andrew's mother

Passing sentence, the judge said that those who had supervised a drug treatment order stated that Bonini had neither the willingness nor motivation to kick his habit.

He took into account the fact that Bonini was "remorseful and bitterly regretted" his actions but noted that his plea of guilty to culpable homicide was made on the first day of his trial.

But Lord Brodie added: "The absence of a plea of any kind until the first day of the trial is not indicative of remorse."

He pointed out that Bonini would not necessarily be released after 13 years, the punishment part of the sentence.

It would then be up to the Parole Board to decide on his release, depending on its assessment of his progress in prison and the risk he posed to the public.

'Self-inflicted tragedy'

Andrew was shot while being carried by his older brother as they watched fire engines near their home on 2 March.

His death in hospital two days later prompted calls from his family for airguns to be banned. The Justice Minister Cathy Jamieson promised to look again at the legislation covering the weapons.

Defence counsel John Scullion said that while awaiting trial Bonini had become a father and as a result of his life sentence he would not see his child being brought up.

He described it as a "personal, but self-inflicted tragedy" for Bonini but added: "It is nothing compared to the ongoing and lifelong tragedy he has inflicted on the family of Andrew Morton.

Andrew Morton
Andrew Morton died after being shot near his home

"He accepts full responsibility for what he has done and expresses remorse for this.

"He also doubts if he will ever come to terms with what he has done and realises he will have to live with what he has done for the rest of his life."

Outside the court Ms McMillan said: "Only a 25-year sentence would have given us peace of mind. A 13-year sentence is a joke. Bonini will be just laughing at us.

"As for his apology we do not accept it. He did mean it. He also meant to hit my 13-year-old son.

"He will not see his wean's first day at school. Well neither will I because my wean was murdered."

The Scottish National Party's justice spokeswoman Kenny MacAskill said the Scottish Parliament should be given the powers to deal with airgun legislation.

"The time for talking is over, and the time for action has arrived. Westminster hasn't - Holyrood must," he said.


SEE ALSO:
Man convicted of toddler's murder
09 Aug 05 |  Scotland
Calls continue for airgun curbs
09 Aug 05 |  Scotland
Shot claims in child murder trial
08 Aug 05 |  Scotland
Toddler's death was 'inevitable'
05 Aug 05 |  Scotland
Toddler 'shot in brother's arms'
04 Aug 05 |  Scotland
Cousin saw accused shoot toddler
03 Aug 05 |  Scotland


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