A teenager who shot a 15-year-old boy in the face with a double-barrelled shotgun as he walked to school has been sentenced to 24 years in custody for his attempted murder.
Police say it was “nothing short of a miracle” that the victim survived the attack from Jacob Talbot-Lummis, 16, who behaved in a “cold and calm” manner after the shooting.
The victim, who cannot be named for legal reasons, had been walking to school in Kesgrave, near Ipswich, for the first day back after the first national lockdown when he was shot from less than 5ft (1.5m) away.
Talbot-Lummis, who was obsessed with guns and violent computer games, “ruthlessly executed” his plan to attack his victim on 7 September last year, Judge Martyn Levett told Ipswich Crown Court.
He was convicted after a month-long trial and can now be named after the judge lifted a reporting restriction that had banned his identification.
Victim suffered ‘unimaginably serious injuries’
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 shooting him with his grandfather’s Beretta.
Judge Levett said the victim suffered “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.”
He said Talbot-Lummis had played a virtual reality computer game called Blood Trail the day before the shooting.
A friend of the defendant said the game was “hyper-realistic in its violence” and that Talbot-Lummis “adores it”.
The judge told the defendant: “You had this obsessive interest in all kinds of firearms and had become entrenched in watching computer games online.”
He 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”.
Teen claimed he fired gun unintentionally
Talbot-Lummis said in evidence that he wanted to “scare” the boy who had caused him “humiliation and fear” and 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 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”.
‘No doubt in my mind he intended to kill victim’
Suffolk Police Detective Superintendent David Henderson, who was the Senior Investigating Officer, said: “There is no doubt in my mind that Jacob Talbot-Lummis intended to kill the victim. You don’t threaten someone with a loaded shotgun and then ultimately shoot them in the face just to ‘scare them’.
“We know that Talbot-Lummis had experience of using shotguns, so his claim that the gun fired accidentally seems extremely unlikely. The witness descriptions of his cold and calm manner following the shooting appear to reaffirm that firing the shotgun was indeed planned.
“He did not check upon the victim or try to raise help - he simply coolly drove away, his plan fulfilled. Throughout the trial he continued this brazen and unfazed manner and has never once displayed remorse or concern for the victim.
“It is very hard to understand what could have caused a 15-year-old boy to have committed such an extreme act of violence in this way. Whatever disagreements or grievances you may claim to have with someone, there is never any justification for an attack such as this.
“It is nothing short of a miracle that the victim survived the attack and the progress he has made is testament to the first-class medical care he has received. Not only has he been left with the physical scars of this attack, he will no doubt carry the mental trauma of the incident for life too.
“The sentence handed down by the court today reflects the severity of the crime which was committed and I can only hope that by this legal process coming to an end, the victim and his family can now begin to focus on the future and rebuilding their lives.”
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