A 15-year-old boy jailed for nine years for shooting his girlfriend in the neck on his birthday last year has had his sentence slashed by a Court of Appeal.
The teenager shot and killed Urswick School pupil Shereka Fab-Ann Marsh, also 15, at an address in Hackney Wick in March.
He was convicted of manslaughter and possession of a firearm with intent to endanger life last September, and sentenced to nine years in prison, with a further five to serve on extended license after release.
He appeared in court on Thursday (March 19) in a bid to clear his name, claiming he thought the gun’s magazine had been removed and the gun was not loaded, not knowing that there was a bullet left in the chamber.
He unknowingly “waved the gun around” and aimed it at Marsh, who was shot in the neck and later died.
At the Court of Appeal, Barrister Timothy Raggett QC argued that the conviction was “arguably unsafe” on grounds of gross negligence, and said the case was centred on what a 15-year-old boy could reasonably be expected to do to ensure a gun was safe.
“What the jury didn’t get was assistance on how to deal with this case, given that they did not accept the fundamental case of murder,” said Raggett.
Appeal judge Sir Brian Leveson, sitting with Mr Justice Cranston and Mr Justice Singh, rejected the boy’s bid to clear his name, but ruled that his sentence be reduced to only four-and-a-half years, cancelling the extended license portion of his sentence, as they ruled he could not be considered “dangerous”.
The case has already received much criticism from Marsh’s friends and family, who believe the boy should have received a longer sentence in the first place after he was cleared of manslaughter.
The same weapon was used by Hackney gang member Andrew Gordon last February in the shooting of two men in Clapton.