Page last updated at 14:24 GMT, Thursday, 2 October 2008 15:24 UK

'Terrible tragedy' of rifle death

Daniel Marsh
Daniel Marsh and the other two teenagers had taken the air rifle apart

A teenager told a friend: "Careful where you're pointing that rifle", moments before he was accidentally shot in the heart, an inquest has been told.

The air rifle went off, and Daniel Marsh, 17, was killed.

A coroner called it "a terrible tragedy" as he recorded a misadventure verdict at the inquest in Newport.

Daniel's cousin Aaron Marsh, 17, and friend Mark Drew, 19, were arrested but no further action is to be taken, the hearing was told.

Mr Drew was holding the gun at the time, the inquest heard.

The accident happened on 12 November last year in the Maesglas area of Newport.

I hope it will serve as a lesson that you should only buy and service such weapons with a registered gunsmith
Gwent coroner David Bowen

The inquest was told how the young men had been modifying the air rifle.

They had taken it apart and put penny coins in it, in a bid to increase the shooting distance.

The hearing was told that Mr Drew was holding the rifle when Daniel said: "Careful where you're pointing that rifle" and it went off.

Daniel said: "You shot me" and ran out of the shed for help collapsing on the road outside, the inquest heard.

The court was also told the two other young men were arrested by police but that no further action would be taken against them.

House in Maesglas Road, Newport
Police outside the house where the accident happened

Det Sgt Sam Payne told the inquest: "Mark said he had been wiggling the trigger because it was hard to pull - but he didn't think there were any pellets in the rifle."

The inquest heard that Aaron Marsh had bought the rifle from a friend two days before.

The three friends spent the day playing with the rifle at a local tip, using bottles for target practice.

They went to the shed to modify the gun to make it more powerful.

The gun's trigger guard had been removed at the time of the shooting, the hearing was told.


Recording his verdict, Gwent coroner David Bowen said: "There was an atmosphere of frivolity so perhaps it is not surprising they had forgotten the gun was loaded.

"Although they were aware the gun was powerful enough to kill a rabbit they had never thought it could cause the death of a human.

"This is a terrible tragedy for everyone involved," added the coroner.

"I hope it will serve as a lesson that you should only buy and service such weapons with a registered gunsmith."

Roger James, representing Daniel's family, said after the hearing: "They are very disappointed that no charges were ever brought over his death."

• A two-day gun amnesty was held in Newport last December at the request of residents and backed by Daniel's family.

Gun amnesty after air rifle death
28 Nov 07 |  South East Wales
Air rifle death 'tragic accident'
12 Nov 07 |  South East Wales

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