[A] man has today has been sentenced for more than 11 years after shooting and seriously injuring a 15 year-old boy.
Steven Thompson, 39, who lives on Hewitt Avenue, Sunderland has been sentenced to 11 years and 10 months for grievous bodily harm, possession of a firearm with intent to endanger life, possession of a firearm and perverting the course of justice.
Officers were called to Hewitt Avenue on October 5th last year after reports a 15-year-old boy had been injured while travelling on the back of a friends moped. When the police arrived, Kyle Johnson was found with serious head injuries caused by a high powered air rifle, fired by Thompson.
Detective Inspector Ed Small believes Kyle is lucky to be alive and admits his life has changed forever.
“This has truly been an awful incident and Steven Thompson’s actions have left a fit and healthy young boy with severe life-changing injuries. Kyle Johnson has been extremely brave throughout this investigation and is demonstrating his tremendous strength of character in fighting to get his life back.
“I also want to commend Kyle’s family for their dignity and support throughout. This has been a living nightmare for them and I hope today’s outcome can help them move on with their lives feeling some sense of justice has been done.
“This gives a stark warning of the dangers that using any sort of air weapon irresponsibly can have, as well as the devastating injuries they can cause.”
Kyle said: “On the 5th October 2016 I was shot in the head whilst riding on the back of my friends moped. This was the day that my life changed forever. Physically and mentally my life has changed beyond recognition, this will continue for the rest of my life. Prior to October 5th I loved my life especially being outdoors and participating in outdoor activities especially swimming, cycling, walking and canoeing. My family and I went on active holidays in the Lake District and Scotland. I was a full of life teenager and had a large group of friends. I always had fun with them.
“I don’t remember being shot or anything leading up to the incident but I do remember waking up in intensive care and thinking I can’t move, the reality was that I couldn’t actually move. I couldn’t speak properly or even lift my head up. I had lost my dignity and I couldn’t even go to the toilet without assistance. I was disabled. I felt like my life had been taken away from me, I was a shell of my former self.
“After weeks of this I thought I was in a living nightmare and at times I wanted to die. I wasn’t Kyle anymore and I felt so depressed. I’m a fifteen year old young lad with my whole life ahead of me.. I used to be full of energy and life but now I feel weak all of the time. I feel anxious, scared and worried all of the time. This leads to me being angry and frustrated I can’t do the things I want to and I will never be able to follow my dream of a career in construction.
“The person who did this has shown no remorse whatsoever. How can anyone do this to a child then leave them dying in the middle of a road and walk away? He then lied to the police which made it even harder for me to take. He even tried to get rid of the evidence. What kind of person never mind a father could do this? I want him to know that I nearly died. But he won’t be bothered about that. He is only concerned about himself.
“Despite all of the surgery, the pain and heartache I am better than that. I have the fight and determination to make my life better, and I will. He won’t make me feel like this forever. I just want to get back to being my old self. I will get there one day. I wish to also thank all of the doctors and nursing staff who have enabled me to get to this point in my life where I can now look forward to a better future.”
Kyle’s mum Lindsy said: “Before October 5th 2016 we were a happy normal family with hopes and dreams. This was the day my life changed forever. It ripped my soul apart, the heartache was unbearable. I screamed and howled outside of the hospital just to release some of the pain. I did not know what I could do. I felt powerless to help the situation. I prayed that my son wouldn’t die. I sat for hour after hour by his bedside praying, singing to him and talking to him. I told him over and over that everything would be alright.
“Due to the excellent work of the medical staff Kyle awoke. I was so happy. I could breathe again, he was alive and still with us. The reality was that my son Kyle was disabled through no fault of his own. This was the most difficult, heart wrenching and painful time of my whole life.
“Kyle and all of our family now have to deal with the aftermath of this situation. I am dealing with the reality that our lives will never be the same again. It is truly heart breaking to see a once active young boy fighting to get his body and mind back to what it once was. He is inspirational and his determination is unbelievable. I am so proud of him.”