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Last Updated: Friday, 30 April, 2004, 18:28 GMT 19:28 UK
Jail for pensioner who shot youth
Victor Richards said he had been targeted by youths for years
A pensioner has been jailed for shooting a teenager after a confrontation at his home at four in the morning.

Victor Richards, 68, of Pontrhydyfen, near Neath, shot Alan Davies, 19, leaving him with a collapsed lung.

Following Richards' conviction for wounding, the judge at Swansea Crown Court said he could not take the law into his own hands.

Earlier, Richards had admitted possession of a firearm without a certificate, possessing ammunition without a certificate and having a firearm in a public place.

The retired steelworker was cleared attempting to murder the teenager last July and of wounding with intent, but was jailed for three years on Friday for the lesser charge.

Persons cannot be permitted to possess such a weapon, let alone fire it off in such a reckless fashion.
Judge John Diehl QC

Richards said in court he had been targeted by youths for years.

But Judge John Diehl QC said: "Whatever the provocation, that gave you no licence to act as you did taking the law into your own hands and with a rifle which you had no business to be in your possession in the first place.

"Persons cannot be permitted to possess such a weapon, let alone take it out on to the road loaded and fire it off in such a reckless fashion."

The original trial heard how 19-year-old Alan Davies suffered a collapsed lung in the shooting and later underwent surgery to remove a bullet.

Mr Davies was with his best friend Gareth Pullen, also 19 at the time and both were accused by Richards during the trial of victimising him.

Richards claimed they were part of a gang which had caused problems in the village.

Live ammunition

Both had returned to the village in the early hours of the morning by taxi after spending the night in Neath working as DJs.

The pair claimed Richards was awake and standing in the doorway of his home as they walked by and they decided to "wind him up".

Richards insisted he had been in bed asleep until they loudly knocked on his front door having previously dragged his cement mixer and a trailer into the road.

When he emerged with the air rifle, which was adapted to fire live ammunition and fitted with a silencer, he claimed both boys had been shouting abuse at him for some time.

Richards shot Mr Davies once through the chest shouting, "That's your last chance."

The teenager ran from the scene but collapsed further along the road with blood pouring from his mouth.

'Deep regrets'

He still suffers breathing difficulties, the court heard.

Roderick Price QC, defending Richards, said: "He deeply regrets that he discharged the rifle which led to the injury of this young man.

"The gun had been acquired at a car boot sale around nine years ago and Richards' intention had been to shoot rabbits with it."

Pontrhydyfen, where the shooting took place, is the birthplace of actor Richard Burton, and his niece, Sian Owen, provided a testimonial for Richards, calling him an "unsung hero" of the area.

But the judge said the offences were too serious to suspend the sentence.

Richards was also ordered to pay 2,000 compensation to Alan Davies.

Pensioner cleared of murder bid
05 Apr 04  |  South West Wales

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