A FORMER Harbury man who was involved in a shooting in a car near to Coventry’s War Memorial Park and ended up needing hospital treatment himself has been jailed for 17 years.
Liam Timms and the man who accompanied him to hospital, Jason Cornwall, both stood trial at Warwick Crown Court after they denied possessing a firearm with intent to endanger life.
After just over two hours the jury found 23 year-old Timms, of no fixed address, but previously of Leycester Close, Harbury, guilty by a unanimous verdict – but found 30 year-old Mr Cornwall, of Arundel Road, Coventry, not guilty.
The jury had heard that in October last year a man called Ross White was seen staggering along Coat of Arms Bridge Road near the War Memorial Park, crying for help after being shot in the forearm and thigh.
A car said to be a Seat Leon was seen speeding away, and ten or so minutes later Timms, who had a shotgun wound to his hand, went into A&E at Warwick Hospital, accompanied by Mr Cornwall.
But when Timms was told he would have to be transferred to University Hospital in Coventry, which is where Mr White had been taken, he walked out – before going to the Queen Elizabeth Hospital in Birmingham the next day using a false name.
An attempt was later made to destroy the Seat by setting it alight in Wathen Road, Warwick.
But it was not completely burned-out, and on the rear off-side door officers found Timms’s blood, while Mr White’s blood was found on the near-side rear door, and a partly-melted unfired shotgun cartridge was discovered.
Although the shotgun was never recovered, and neither Mr White nor the two defendants gave evidence, it was speculated it had been fired inside the car, and therefore must have been a sawn-off weapon.
Timms’s barrister Francis McGrath suggested during the trial that someone in the back of the car could have had the sawn-off shotgun without Timms, who he said was driving, being aware of it.
He argued it may have been fired accidentally by a person who did not realise it was loaded, hitting Timms’s hand and Mr White’s arm and thigh in the front passenger seat.
Jailing Timms, Judge Andrew Lockhart QC told him: “I can draw an inference that in that car with you was the shotgun, loaded and ready to use. This is not a thing that happened by accident.
The judge said Mr White was also in the car, but he was satisfied he was not part of Timms’s group – ‘or he would not have been left in the road with potentially life-threatening injuries.’
“I don’t for one moment accept that this was an accident. If it had been, I have absolutely no doubt Mr White would have been taken with you to the hospital.
“The carriage of loaded guns and their discharge is a scourge on this society.
He said it was likely to have been a premeditated use of the shotgun to endanger life, although he accepted it may not be a case where Timms fired it himself.