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Air rifle teen shot passer-by after argument with mum

By South Wales Evening Post  |  Posted: November 23, 2012

A PORT Talbot teenager shot a passer-by with an air rifle through a letter box.

Neath Magistrates Court heard that Ryan Lewis Morgan, 18, of James Street, Taibach, had fired the .177 rifle from a property in Fairway in October.

The court was told the victim, Rhys Thomas, was on his way to work when he felt a sharp pain in his abdomen when walking past the home.

The dart with which he was shot penetrated two layers of his clothing, causing a small puncture wound.

Officers went to the property where Morgan admitted he had aimed a shot through the letter box following an argument with his mother and his "head was in the shed".

He said he didn't aim the rifle at anyone and didn't think he had hit anyone.

Prosecutor Anwen Evans said: "He was taken to Neath Police Station and admitted it was a reckless act."

Probation officer Greg Flowers told the court that Morgan realised the seriousness of his actions and said he (Morgan) suffers from a series of health complaints including post- traumatic stress disorder and memory loss.

In mitigation, defence solicitor Jon Lewis added: "Originally the family came from the Cardiff area around eight or nine years ago. Ryan's father was imprisoned for a serious offence in the Cardiff area.

"His mother formed a relationship with a Port Talbot man who passed away earlier this year.

"He is now living with his brother. It is self-evident the young man has plainly lost his way."

Magistrate chairman Keith Vincent said: "Mr Morgan, firing this air gun as you did through a letter box is quite a serious matter.

"It is fortunate for you that you didn't cause serious injury to someone when you did this. It was an absolutely ridiculous thing to do."

Morgan, who pleaded guilty to assault and to firing a weapon, was given a 12-month community order, a 12-month supervision order, and will be required to complete a thinking skills programme.

He will be subjected to a 3-month curfew from 8pm until 7am and also ordered to pay costs of £85 and compensation to Mr Thomas of £100. The court made an order for the air rifle to be destroyed.

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