A video game-obsessed teenager who shot a 15-year-old boy in the face with a double-barrelled shotgun has been sentenced to 24 years in custody for his attempted murder.
Jacob Talbot-Lummis, 16, had an “obsessive interest in all kinds of firearms and had become entrenched in watching computer games online”, Judge Martyn Levett told Ipswich Crown Court.
He said that the defendant had played a virtual reality computer game called Blood Trail the day before he shot his victim in Kesgrave near Ipswich on September 7 last year.
A friend of the defendant said the game was “hyper realistic in its violence” and that Talbot-Lummis “adores it”.
He said that in the game players “shoot cultists”.
Talbot-Lummis wore a virtual reality (VR) headset to play Blood Trail, which was released by US maker Electrovore
The judge said Talbot-Lummis had played computer games “obsessively” since he was nine years old, “playing games in a virtual world more suitable for 18-year-olds”.
He said that playing such games “was a factor for the onset of violent fantasies you had”.
And the judge voiced concern about “the frequent glorification of shooting a character on screen”.
He said Talbot-Lummis “ruthlessly executed” his plan to attack his victim.
The victim, who cannot be named for legal reasons, had been walking to school for the first day back since the first national lockdown when he was shot from less than 1.5 metres away.
An earlier trial heard that Talbot-Lummis took his father’s car to drive to the location and lay in wait for the boy for more than an hour before he shot him with his grandfather’s Beretta.
Judge Levett said that the victim sustained “unimaginably serious injuries”, still suffers flashbacks and continues to be “reliant on his family”.
“The intention to kill wasn’t formed on the spur of the moment,” he said.
“This was all pre-planned and pre-meditated.”
Talbot-Lummis said in evidence that he wanted to “scare” the boy who caused him “humiliation and fear” and he claimed that he fired the gun unintentionally, but jurors rejected his account and found him guilty of attempted murder.
The judge said the defendant did not report his bullying claims to the school, adding: “I don’t accept there was bullying of the scale or the degree suggested.”
The judge said that Talbot-Lummis had a “haul” of lawfully held BB guns in his bedroom, adding: “If you wanted to scare (the victim) you could have used one of your own authentic looking guns.”
He said Talbot-Lummis “ambushed” his victim and “didn’t show any mercy or restraint”.
The defendant was also convicted of possession of a shotgun with intent to endanger the boy’s life and possession of a shotgun with intent to cause fear of injury to the boy.
The judge said he had the “protection of the public in mind” as he imposed the extended sentence, comprising 24 years in custody and five years on licence.
Addressing Talbot-Lummis, he said: “That sentence will affect you until you’re 45 years old.”
Diana Ellis QC, mitigating, said Talbot-Lummis has “expressed his regret and remorse”.