A pensioner jailed for three years for shooting dead his six-year-old great-grandson as he checked his air rifle has “never once said sorry to us”, the boy’s mother has told a judge.
Albert Grannon, 78, was jailed on Tuesday after he admitted killing Stanley Metcalf with his unlicensed .22 calibre weapon at his home in Sproatley, East Yorkshire, in July last year.
Sheffield Crown Court heard that the football-mad youngster said “Why have you shot me, granddad?” as shocked relatives responded to the sound of a loud bang in the house.
During emotional scenes in court, Stanley’s mother Jenny Dees described how Grannon – her grandfather – had never said sorry and would be thinking he had been “unfairly treated”.
Ms Dees told the packed courtroom that she was “really angry” because she believed the defendant would be thinking it was an accident, and “what is all the fuss about and why on earth has he been brought to court”.
She said: “Granddad surely has some inkling of some of the pain we are going through, as he has lost a son himself, but never once has he said sorry to us.”
Grannon, who admitted Stanley’s manslaughter, stood in the glass-fronted dock with one security officer and wore a smart grey jacket, light blue shirt, dark blue tie and blue trousers.
The pensioner showed no emotion as the judge, Mr Justice Lavender, said to him: “You ended a young life and you brought lifelong grief and misery to his parents and to the whole of his family.
“What you did was obviously a very dangerous thing to do. Why on Earth did you do it?”
According to the judge, Stanley said after the pellet went through him: “Why have you shot me, granddad?”, “or something similar”.
The court heard that the family had gathered at Grannon’s home for an annual event to mark the death of one of his sons, Andrew, 15 years earlier.
John Elvidge QC, prosecuting, told the court that Stanley had asked his great-grandfather if he could see the gun, which Grannon had bought for £90, later had modified, and used for shooting vermin.
The prosecutor said the defendant kept the gun in a cupboard with a curtain over it, and it was normally left loaded.
He said members of the family who were in the garden heard a loud bang and rushed in to find Stanley bent over in the kitchen with a wound the size of a 5p piece in his stomach.
Mr Elvidge said the pellet from the .22 rifle had gone all the way through, severing an artery.
Stanley’s condition deteriorated in the ambulance and he died within two hours, the court heard.
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 showed that this could not have been the case.
In court on Tuesday, the judge gave Paul Genney, defending, time to go to see Grannon to get a final version from him of what happened on July 26 last year.
Mr 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.”
The barrister told the court that, despite Stanley’s parents’ view that he had shown no remorse, Grannon “blames himself totally”.
The court heard that Stanley’s extended family had been split into two camps by the incident and some relatives, including his parents, sat in the court itself while others were in the overhanging public gallery.
Many were in tears as the sentence was passed.
As he was taken down, one woman shouted from the balcony: “Love you, dad.”
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 but also 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 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.