A 22-YEAR-OLD father of four who shot two boys with an air rifle, nearly blinding one of them, has been jailed.
Daniel Clarke, 22, from Oak Close, Thetford, was sentenced to two and a half years in prison at Norwich Crown Court on Tuesday. Clarke pleaded guilty to assault causing actual bodily harm and affray.
The shooting took place at Fir Road on September 19 when two boys, who cannot be named for legal reasons, were climbing a tree at around 8pm.
Clarke was shooting pigeons with an air weapon that had a telescopic sight before turning his attentions on the boys.
He asked one of them, “Are you sure you’re not a pigeon?” before shooting him only an inch from his eye.
The 12-year-old suffered a slight wound and Clarke continued to shoot at him as he climbed down from the tree. He also fired shots at the other boy, a 16-year-old, without hitting him.
Prosecuting, Christopher Youell said a shot from Clarke also hit the 12-year-old’s father’s car.
Andrew Shaw, in mitigation, said Clarke was ‘not himself’ when he shot the boy.
“It was a reckless act and not intended to cause the boy any harm,” he said.
Mr Shaw said Clarke was still a very young man, asking Judge Peter Jacobs to give him the benefit of the doubt.
Mr Shaw added that Clarke did have a record of minor offences but the shooting was an escalation of that behaviour.
Clarke, who has four children aged from six months to seven years old, also had a job as a labourer waiting for him, Mr Shaw said.
Clarke was jailed for a total of two and a half years, including 27 months for the assault charge, 15 months for affray and 13 weeks for breaching two community orders.
Judge Jacobs said: “If the pellet had gone into his eye he would have been blinded. You were firing at him whilst he was in the tree and it was absolutely disgraceful.”