Woman shot in hip as she stood in street

An 18 year old Rathfriland man who shot a woman on the hip with an airsoft pellet gun, has appeared before the local court charged with assault.

Appearing in the dock at last week’s Banbridge Magistrates Court was George Burns from Downpatrick Street.

A PPS prosecutor explained how on 29 August last a woman left the Homeland Diner restaurant in Downpatrick Street to take a phone call.

As she was standing outside the restaurant she felt something strike her left hip and thought she was stung.

However upon inspection she discovered a red welt the size of a ten pence piece with a white centre and bleeding.

Witnesses at the scene said they heard something coming from premises opposite and police enquiries led them to Burns.

He admitted having the air soft pellet gun and said he had bought it at a fair in the town. He said it must have gone off accidentally out the window and struck the woman. The court heard that Burns has a previous record and has been cautioned for theft.

His solicitor said this was a toy gun brought by his client’s 11 year old brother for £4 and the description of an airsoft gun was a “little misleading.”

District Judge Mr Copeland said he had concerns about the incident which he described as “at the least case careless and the worst case a premeditated assault.” The case was adjourned and Burns was told to return to court on March 20.