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Royal Navy: HMS Prince of Wales sailor who shot girlfriend and attacked two women at pub spared jail

Navy serviceman Harley Moore outside Margate Magistrates' Court. Picture: KMG / SWNS.
Navy serviceman Harley Moore outside Margate Magistrates' Court. Picture: KMG / SWNS.

Magistrates even told Harley Moore, 18, they "wish him the best" with his career as a junior able seaman on HMS Prince of Wales. Moore admitted four counts of assault by beating when he appeared at Margate Magistrates' Court on Thursday, September 21.

The court heard that on May 30 he flew into a jealous rage and shot his girlfriend in her foot at their home in Deal, Kent. Prosecutor Maria Goptareva said: "They were in the bedroom discussing their relationship and he was shooting the BB gun around the room. He then turned around and shot her foot."

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The attack left her "shaken up" but they went out drinking with her friend in Deal the next evening where he launched another attack. His girlfriend told police he was "practically foaming at the mouth and spitting at me" so she ran past him into The Sir Norman Wisdom Wetherspoon to get away.

Harley Moore, 18, from Deal, shot his girlfriend with a BB gun on May 30, court heard. Picture: KMG / SWNS.
Harley Moore, 18, from Deal, shot his girlfriend with a BB gun on May 30, court heard. Picture: KMG / SWNS.

Court heard Moore followed her into the pub toilets and pushed her against the wall. The victim told police: "He went to hit me and missed - but he caught me with his nails.

"Then he turned around and hit [my friend], causing her to fall backwards." A female Wetherspoons employee intervened and pointed him towards the door, but he pushed her arm away.

Moore's girlfriend suffered a scratch to her face while her friend was left with a bruised back. In a victim impact statement, Moore's girlfriend said: "The whole incident has made me feel very shaken up and upset because I never imagined he could hit me.

"I am shocked that someone I thought I loved could do this to me and my friend." Magistrates refused to hand Moore a community service order because it would mean him losing his Royal Navy job.

The Sir Norman Wisdom Wetherspoon in Queen Street, Deal, Kent. Picture: Google Street View/SWNS.
The Sir Norman Wisdom Wetherspoon in Queen Street, Deal, Kent. Picture: Google Street View/SWNS.

He was ordered to pay £200 compensation to his girlfriend, £100 each to her friend and the pub worker, as well as court costs of £85 and a £26 victim surcharge. Magistrates also ordered the forfeiture and destruction of the BB gun.

Chair magistrate David Gibbons said: "We in no way wish for Mr Moore to lose his job – we wish him the best with that. But we can't let his job mean that he escapes justice."

He told the defendant: "Mr Moore you're aware our hands have been tied in what we can do to punish you for this. The incident was severe and you were unpleasant to three different people.

"While the offences are deserving of a community order, it has become apparent that this is unworkable, so we will be going down the route of a conditional discharge. This will be for three years.

"Should you commit another offence within that time you can be punished for today's offence and any new offences." Ian Bond, defending, said Moore was on leave from his duties on HMS Prince of Wales, which will act as the nation's flagship, at the time of the attacks.

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He said Moore had been upset that his girlfriend had gone on a trip to London with another man. Describing the assault with the BB gun, he said: "It fires very small plastic rounds - about the size of a pea, a petit pois.

"Mr Moore said: 'I'm sorry - I was trying to shoot your shoe.' "But the next day things are still simmering and this young man has behaved as badly as he did because of his frustration and because he'd had too much to drink. He's genuinely remorseful."

Chief Petty Officer Darrell Binner attended court with Moore and said disciplinary action is also being taken by the Navy. He said: "The Navy takes a very seriously dim view of what Mr Moore has done and he will receive appropriate punishments from his commanding officer.

"That could mean a dock in his pay, extra duties or even being discharged. He is returning to Portsmouth while transportation is arranged to get him back on the ship - the vessel is operational and it requires a full crew.

"The Navy would not be able to comply with a court order for him to complete community service."