A 15-year-old boy, who took a shotgun to school to carry out a mass shooting, is set to be freed after a judge ruled that his welfare was just as important as public safety.
The ‘model son’ took a 12-bore shotgun and 200 cartridges from his father’s gun cabinet before entering Higham Lane School, in Nuneaton.
He was jailed for six years at Warwick Crown Court last September – but now Lady Justice Hallett has ruled he needs help as much as punishment.
The boy – who cannot be identified – was suffering from severe depression and social anxiety at the time, she told London’s Appeal Court.
The ‘model son’ took a 12-bore shotgun and 200 cartridges from his father’s gun cabinet before entering Higham Lane School, in Nuneaton (pictured)
Bottling up his emotions for months, he had recently been diagnosed with a type of autism and had suffered bullying in the past.
‘We have concluded that this is a case in which the welfare of this child goes hand in hand with the protection of the public,’ she said.
‘He was a model son who had exhibited no aggressive or disruptive behaviour before this incident.’
Had the teenager not dialed 999 himself ‘nobody would have been any the wiser’, the judge added.
He could simply have returned the gun and ammunition to their cabinet at home and continued with his life.
The boy was jailed for six years at Warwick Crown Court last September – but now Lady Justice Hallett (pictured) has ruled he needs help as much as punishment
The teenager walked into the school soon after pupils arrived in June last year with the shotgun stashed in his clothing.
He moved to a quiet area of the building where he ‘decided to load the shotgun’, said his barrister, Simon Russell-Flint QC.
‘But it appears that was immediately followed by him realising the stupidity of his actions,’ he added.
He rang 999 on his mobile phone and told the operator that ‘he had a shotgun and ammunition and was at a school’.
When asked why, he replied: ‘I don’t know why – I felt so angry this morning, I had to get it out’.
Quizzed further by the operator, he admitted that he was ‘thinking of using it on someone else’.
The teenager admitted having the gun with intent to endanger life, and possessing the cartridges and a knife.
And, jailing him last year, Judge Andrew Lockhart QC said: ‘A moment in time separated the pupils and staff of this school from being the subject of a terrible shooting that would have taken a dreadful place in history of truly wicked crimes committed in this country.’
But Lady Justice Hallett said the boy had shown only a ‘fleeting intention’ to use the shotgun, before he rapidly ‘came to his senses’.
He was jailed for six years at Warwick Crown Court last September – but now Lady Justice Hallett has ruled he needs help as much as punishment
‘He took this gun from a secure cabinet with the intention of harming people at the school,’ she added.
‘It was when he was putting on his ear protectors that he changed his mind and rang the police.’
Social workers had recommended that the boy be freed under a supervision order, subject to a comprehensive rehabilitation package.
And Lady Justice Hallett, who was sitting with two other senior judges, ruled: ‘We are satisfied that it would be appropriate, once we are informed the arrangements are in place, to follow the recommendations made.’