A 78-year-old man has been sentenced to three years in prison for killing his six-year-old great-grandson with an air rifle.
In June, Albert Grannon pleaded guilty at Hull Crown Court to the manslaughter of Stanley Metcalf at a family gathering in Sproatley, East Yorkshire, last year.
Stanley suffered a wound in the side of his abdomen when he was shot on July 26.
Prosecutor John Elvidge QC told the court that the boy was shot from a few feet away and that he exclaimed: “You shot me granddad” after the gun went off.
Elvidge said Grannon had a habit of keeping the .22 calibre weapon loaded in a cupboard to shoot vermin, and Stanley had asked to see it.
The judge told Grannon: “You ended a young life and you brought lifelong grief and misery to his parents and to the whole of his family.”
He said: “What you did was obviously a very dangerous thing to do. Why on Earth did you do it?”
Grannon showed no emotion as he was sentenced.
The court heard how Stanley’s extended family had been split by the incident and some relatives sat in the court itself while others were in the overhanging public gallery.
Many were in tears as the sentence was passed. As Grannon was taken down, one woman shouted from the balcony: “Love you Dad.”
Stanley’s mother, Jenny Dees, said of the defendant, who is her grandfather: “Not once did he say sorry. Now if he did, it would be meaningless – too little, too late.”
Ahead of the sentencing she pleaded with the judge to send Grannon to prison. She said: “I do believe he needs to take responsibility for the death of my son. He caused the death of my son.”
“I loved and respected my granddad so much, and the day Stanley died I thought he would come to me and say he was sorry, why wouldn’t he? But he didn’t. People say he is in shock and that he will say sorry afterwards. We are nearly up to a year now and he hasn’t.”
Paul Genney, defending, told the court that, despite the views of Stanley’s parents, Grannon “blames himself totally”.
The prosecutor said Grannon told police that the gun went off as he was checking whether it was loaded and the pellet must have ricocheted off the floor.
But, he said, forensic tests revealed that this could not have been the case.
In court on Tuesday, the judge gave Genney time to go to see Grannon to get a final version from him of what happened on July 26 last year.
Genney returned to court and said: “He held the rifle and checked by squeezing the trigger to see if it was loaded, whilst pointing the rifle at the child but not, of course, deliberately.”
Stanley was found injured at a property in Church Lane and was pronounced dead later the same day after he was taken to Hull Royal Infirmary.
An inquest opening at Hull Coroner’s Court last year heard that the youngster died after suffering a pellet gun injury to the side of his abdomen.
Outside court, Stanley’s mother said she wanted to see changes to air rifle licensing, saying there needed to be more education about the fact that some air weapons need a certificate.
Earlier, the court heard that the air rifle needed a firearms certificate because its power meant it was categorised as “specially dangerous.”
Prosecutors said Grannon knew he needed a licence for the weapon, which he had modified, but knew he would not get one because an old injury to his right hand meant he could only fire it with his left. He is right-handed.
Grannon also admitted possessing an air rifle without holding a firearms certificate and was given a four-month prison sentence to run concurrently to the three years for manslaughter.
At his funeral last year, family members described Stanley, who had a twin sister, Elsie May, as a “loving, caring and beautiful boy” who “adored” playing football.
His sister sat on top of the horse-drawn hearse carrying his coffin as it arrived at the service. The cortege received a guard of honour from mourners dressed in superhero costumes.