Woman shot in face over Abba CD

Preston Crown Court
Preston Crown Court
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A man who shot a woman in the face on a doorstep told police he did it because she had ‘stolen his Abba CD’.

Shirley Cowell was hit in the right cheek by a plastic pellet fired by Anthony Smith, with others striking her on the chin, left side of her face and right wrist.

Preston Crown Court was told of the shooting incident on Westminster Road, Morecambe, when Smith, 48, appeared for sentencing for offences of assault occasioning actual bodily harm and having an imitation firearm with intent to cause fear after having previously pleaded guilty.

Mr Roger Baldwin, prosecuting, said at the time on February 21, Shirley Cowell was staying at a nearby flat, with her son.

That evening, she had spent some time with the defendant and his wife in his flat.

At around 8pm she went back to the other flat and started playing an Abba CD.

A few minutes later, Smith went to her door and alleged she had stolen his CD, something she had not done.

Cross words were exchanged. A few minutes later the defendant’s wife went to the door.

Smith then returned, holding an imitation pistol.

Mr Baldwin told the court “He levelled it at her face, from a range of about three feet. Without any warning, he then shot her in the face.

“There were four shots in all. The defendant says they were plastic pellets.”

The court was also told that Shirley Cowell submitted a retraction statement around two months after the incident.

She said there had been a “foolish game” and things had got out of hand.

She had stated she wanted to withdraw her complaint of assault.

Mr Chris Hudson, defending, said they had been firing the weapon together earlier in the afternoon.

Smith knew that alcohol was a problem for him, but was making progress in trying to deal with it.

“He has been laying off the alcohol and has turned up sober at court”, said Mr Hudson.

The sentencing was adjourned for several weeks for an assessment to be made about Smith’s suitability for a possible alcohol treatment programme. He was bailed to be sentenced at Minshull Street, Crown Court, Manchester on September 6.