Man accidentally shot himself in face then said 'I don't know how I'm alive boss'

Anthony McCall
-Credit: (Image: Merseyside Police)

A man accidentally shot himself in the face then told police officers: "I don't know how I'm still alive boss."

Anthony McCall incredibly escaped with relatively minor injuries after discharging an antique pistol into his own mouth. A judge today rejected his claims that he had been attempting to take his own life at the time, telling him that he had given an "implausible account".

Liverpool Crown Court heard on Tuesday that Merseyside Police received reports that a man with a gunshot wound to his mouth had been seen outside an address on Derbyshire Hill Road in St Helens shortly before midday on February 19 this year. Officers attended the scene and found McCall, of Valiant Close in Croxteth, on nearby Ashtons Green Drive.

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Gerald Baxter, prosecuting, described the 36-year-old as "uncooperative", but added that he "obviously" had the facial injuries which had been reported. He told PCs: "The bullet banged right in my cheek.

"I don't know how I'm still alive boss. I'm here with a bullet in my cheek.

"I've been shot, yeah. I've been shot with an eight milly."

McCall would not say when or how the incident had occurred or if others were involved however. He was taken to Aintree Hospital by ambulance with only a "small puncture wound to the area directly below his lower lip" and "multiple loose and dislodged teeth", the bullet having apparently lodged itself within his left cheek.

Homeowner Andrea Parr was later found cleaning up blood inside the property where the firearm had been discharged. Her daughter Ellie Smith had also been present at the time, and told the police that McCall had stayed there overnight before they and another man, named as Kaylyn, visited a café to have breakfast.

She and the defendant had then returned to her house in a taxi. The witness recalled being in the kitchen when she "heard a loud bang" and turned around to see him injured and leaving the address.

The weapon was subsequently recovered from a garage at the rear of the premises. It was described as a black FN Browning self-loading pistol which dated back to 1922 but was "in fair condition", although a cartridge had become stuck within the chamber.

A magazine found alongside the gun contained six rounds of .32 calibre cartridges. McCall gave no comment to detectives under interview following his arrest, but stated to the court that he had discovered the weapon hidden inside a cushion on the living room sofa following a party.

He is prohibited from holding any firearm for life due to a previous conviction for robbery, which saw him locked up for five years in 2009. His criminal record also shows offences of wounding, assault occasioning actual bodily harm, threatening behaviour, dangerous driving, aggravated vehicle taking, interfering with a motor vehicle, theft, making off without payment, possession of an offensive weapon in a public place, criminal damage, obstructing police, breaching court orders and failing to surrender to bail.

The charge of possession of a prohibited firearm ordinarily results in a minimum five-year sentence. However, this can be avoided in "exceptional circumstances".

Ian Whitehurst, defending, told the court: "What cannot be disputed in this case is that he, in effect, shot himself. The defendant has stated that it was a suicide attempt, to be blunt.

"The crown have asserted that it was potentially a tragic accident, or that something went wrong. In my submission, there is no evidence to support that contention.

"The defendant has been quite frank and open. He wished to take his own life.

"It is more likely than not that this was a suicide attempt. The tragic event which arose on that day in question amounts to exceptional circumstances.

"I ask the court to take into account his mental state previously. Critically, now, there is improvement in the defendant since his incarceration.

"He is receiving counselling. He is now drug free, which has also improved his mental and physical state.

"Although he has an antecedent history, there are no previous convictions for firearms offences. There are a number of supportive testimonials lodged on his behalf."

McCall admitted possession of a prohibited firearm, possession of a firearm when prohibited for life, possession of ammunition without a certificate and possession of ammunition when prohibited for life. He was jailed for five years and four months this afternoon.

Sentencing, Judge David Aubrey KC said: "The court has reflected on the evidence that you have given. This court is quite satisfied, so that it is sure, that you are not telling the truth as to how it was that you came into possession of the firearm.

"It is an implausible account. In the court's judgement, there are a number of areas of your evidence where it is found to be wanting.

"This court is satisfied that this gun was your gun. For however long you had had that gun, it is not possible to determine.

"But you had retained that gun. This court is satisfied that the gun was discharged not for an intention or endeavour to take your own life, but was discharged accidentally - no doubt while you were under the influence of drink or drugs.

"You are not a stranger to these courts. You have a number of previous convictions.

"There is no evidence before this court as to whether any use had been made of that firearm, but this firearm, in the court's judgement, could only have been in your possession for a criminal purpose. Guns are a cancer in our midst.

"They are possessed by criminals for power and control. They are used frequently by criminals either to main, to kill or to cause serious injury.

"Those who are tempted to be in possession of loaded firearms must anticipate receiving condign punishment from the courts. At the time of these offences, you were suffering from depression, but in my judgement there is no cause or link between your depression and the fact that you were in possession of a loaded firearm."

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