A father-of-two shot a crying toddler in the head with an air rifle in order to “shut him up”, a jury has been told.
Harry Studley, who was 18 months old at the time, was left fighting for his life in hospital after Jordan Walters aimed the loaded gun at his head and fired.
The toddler, along with his mum Amy Allen and two-year-old brother Riley, were visiting Walters and his partner Emma Horseman at their flat in Bristol at the time of the incident.
Bristol Crown Court heard how Miss Allen’s children were crying and Horseman told her partner – who was cleaning his rifle – to “shoot Harry just to frighten him, shut him up, shoot it at Harry”.
Walters, who thought the weapon was empty, allegedly then “aimed the gun at Harry and fired it right into Harry’s head”.
The bullet penetrated the toddler’s skull and emergency surgery saved his life although the court heard how “it is not possible to say if he will make a full recovery”.
Walters, 24, pleaded guilty to GBH last year, but Horseman, also 24, denied the same charge by aiding and abetting him, and her trial started earlier today.
Prosecutor Andrew Macfarlane told jurors: “While the boys were upset Amy heard Emma say ‘Oh Amy how do you cope with them crying all the time?’
“She replied ‘easy you just give them attention. You’ve just go to do it’.
“In fact it was just seconds later while Harry was still crying that Amy heard Emma say ‘shoot Harry just to frighten him, shut him up, shoot it at Harry’. Then Amy heard the sound of a gun firing.
“It appeared to Amy that Jordan had aimed the gun at Harry and fired it right into Harry’s head, which is indeed what happened as you will hear.”
Walters allegedly took the air rifle – used for shooting rabbits – out of a kitchen cupboard and clean it in front of the children.
Mr Macfarlane told the jury Miss Allen was attending to Riley, who was upset, when her youngest Harry started to cry because “he wanted mummy too”.
The prosecution allege Horseman told Walters to shoot the boy – both thinking the gun was unloaded.
Describing the aftermath of the shooting, Mr Macfarlane added: “Amy picked him up in her arms.
“Blood was gushing out of Harry’s head – down and down Amy’s arms. He was in and out of consciousness.”
Harry was taken to Bristol Royal Infirmary by air ambulance and underwent surgery that is said to have saved his life.
The prosecution allege Horseman – along with her partner – was “reckless to the point of extreme”.
The trial, which is expected to last two days, continues.
Top pic: SWNS