Lorry driver Ian Catley will be spending seven years in jail for shooting his friend, Philip Harper at close range in a field near Melbourne, Cambridgeshire, on Sunday, June 29, 2014, Independent news reports.
The fate of the 40-year-old, who pleaded pleaded guilty to manslaughter in November, 2014 was decided on Friday, January 16, 2015 at the Southwark Crown Court.
According to the prosecutor, Martin Mulgrew, the deceased, Mr Harper had reportedly visited a military surplus store on Saturday, June 28, 2014 and was “very keen” to test the effectiveness of his newly acquired kit, which was described as merely a “protective” vest.
The victim who apparently thought the vest could serve a s a bullet proof requested that his friend, Catley shot him to see how the vest would work.
Judge Jeffrey Pedgen QC, while pronouncing Catley’s judgement stated, “You shot Mr Harper at a distance of less than 20 feet, causing him catastrophic injuries and immediate death.
“You then, straight away, took him to hospital but tragically, nothing could be done to save his life.”
Catley remorsefully looked down in a profound remorse as his mother broke down into tears in the court room.
“Your remorse is complete and genuine,” the judge stated.
“You recognise the magnitude of your actions and I have no doubt that the effects of killing your good friend will last with you for the rest of your life.”
Judge Jefrrey also stated that Catley, as a gun licence-holder, who is aware of the guidelines for gun possession had “manifestly breached those obligations and duties”.
Defence barrister, Mark McDonald had reportedly argued that the shooting was the result of an ignorant and reckless decision to which the deceased, Mr Harper had nevertheless consented.
The defence barrister added that Mr Harper had initially requested one Mr James Hill to help him try out the vest by shooting him after he had bought it from the Rugby Trading International Ltd, but Mr Hill had flatly refused.
“Mr Harper was very proud of it. He’d gone to the pub that evening wearing that vest and indeed a SWAT cap,” Mr McDonald stated.
“After a drink or so, he asked more people, and Mr Catley agreed to do a stupid and undoubtedly reckless act.”
Man jailed after accidentally killing friend while testing bullet-proof vest http://t.co/Xaj6bwUAFq
— BBC News (UK) (@BBCNews) January 16, 2015
Prosecutor, Mr Mulgrew stated that the vest was far from being a bulletproof as it evidently had a plastic casing that would conventionally allowed the passage of the bullet into the centre of Mr Harper’s heart.
Detective Inspector of Cambridgeshire Police, Ian Simmons also added:
“This is a particularly sad case, where a foolish incident ended in tragedy.
“These second-hand protective vests should not be relied on whatsoever to protect you from gunshot and I’m urging people to take this as a warning.
“Our deepest sympathies are with Mr Harper’s family and friends at this time.