Pensioner shot neighbour in head after row over trimming hedge

A 73-year-old man shot his next door neighbour in the head with an air rifle during an argument over trimming a hedge.

Saturday, 29th May 2021, 8:00 am
The incident occurred on Smithy Parade in Dewsbury

The victim had to go to hospital to have a pellet removed from his forehead after being shot by Malcolm Newsome.

Leeds Crown Court heard how simmering bad feeling between the two men turned violent on May 25 last year.

Newsome took out the weapon and fired the shot in an attack which was witnessed by the victim’s children.

Nicoleta Alistari, prosecuting, said the father-of-three, aged in his thirties, had been trimming the boundary hedge that separated his and Newsome’s properties in Dewsbury.

Newsome, a retired HGV driver, was in his own garden at the time drinking cans of lager.

He became angry when some of the hedge trimmings landed in his garden and threw them back onto his neighbour’s property.

There was then a confrontation between the two men around the front of the houses on Smithy Parade.

Newsome took out the weapon and his neighbour was heard to say: “Are you going to shoot me? Go on then, shoot me. I would love you to.”

The prosecutor said: “After aiming the rifle for a few seconds, he pulled the trigger.”

A pellet struck the victim in the forehead.

The victim ran at Newsome, who tried to hit his neighbour with the rifle but missed.

The neighbour restrained Newsome and held him on the ground while police arrived.

Newsome kicked out, spat and was verbally abusive as he was being held down.

The victim was taken to Pinderfields Hospital, in Wakefield, where he had the pellet removed under local anaesthetic.

The pellet did not cause damage to his skull.

Newsome, of Smithy Parade, Dewsbury, pleaded guilty to unlawful wounding.

The court heard the victim’s daughter suffered from nightmares following the incident.

A probation officer told the court that Newsome had stated in interview how there had been an ongoing dispute between the two men for some time.

The defendant said he had drunk two cans of lager before the incident and the alcohol had “affected his decision making”.

Newsome said he kept the air rifle in his home for “recreational purposes”.

Richard Canning, mitigating, said Newsome and the victim had continued to live next door to each other for 12 months since the offence without further incidents.

Mr Canning said the widower was fit enough to do unpaid work, adding: “It is a sentence that could be suspended.

“It is very serious to fire an air weapon at people. Mercifully the injuries were not serious.”

Newsome was given an 18-month sentence, suspended for two years.

He was also ordered to do 120 hours of unpaid work and was made the subject of a curfew order.

Judge Neil Clark said: “This must have been an exceptionally worrying and frightening injury for him and his children.

“What you did was way beyond anything that could be justified for any hurt or ill-feeling that you felt.”