'Why have you shot me granddad?' the heartbreaking question from six-year-old Stanley Metcalf shot dead by great-grandfather

Stanley Metcalf.
Stanley Metcalf.
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'Why have you shot me grandad?' - this was the heartbreaking question a six-year-old boy asked after he was fatally shot by his great granddad during a family event.

Stanley Metcalf, of Hull, was visiting the home of his great-granddad in Sproatley, East Yorkshire on July 26, last year, when he was shot dead by his great-grandfather in what was described as a tragic accident.

The family had gathered to mark the 15th anniversary of the death of Albert Grannon's son, Andrew, at Grannon's home in Church Lane, when Stanley was fatally shot at around 3pm.

Sheffield Crown Court heard Stanley had asked to see Grannon's air rifle - a 22 calibre Stoeger X20 air rifle with a telescopic sigh which the 78-year-old had upgraded and modified without getting a license.

He had previously bought the gun from a newspaper advertisement to shoot vermin near his home.

Grannon took Stanley into the kitchen of his house to show him his gun, along with his grandmother, whilst his family including mum Jenny Dees and twin sister Elsie remained in the garden.

Prosecuting, John Elvidge QC said: "A few moments later they heard a loud bang of the air rifle being discharged.

"Jenny Dees ran into the house and saw Stanley bent over clasping his stomach.

"Stanley said to the defendant 'why have you shot me Granddad?'.

"Ms Dees thought he was play acting at first and carried him outside the house to get a look in day light, where she saw a small hole the size of a five pence piece in the left hand side of his abdomen."

Stanley was rushed to hospital but tragically died from the gun shot that penetrated his abdomen, causing internal bleeding.

When Grannon was interviewed by the police he told officers he had fired the gun at the floor to check it wasn't loaded.

He told officers he was not aware the gun was loaded and that it was an accident. When he heard Stanley had died he said "It's all my fault".

Prosecuting Mr Elvidge said: "The crown is not suggesting the defendant deliberately meant to kill Stanley but he was grossly negligent."

Mr Elvidge said Grannon's offence was aggravated by the fact he knew he needed a license for the air weapon but didn't apply as he didn't think he would get one due to his disability - he has limited use of his right hand.

Forensic tests revealed however that the shot had been fired directly into Stanley's stomach and only a few feet distance away.

Reading out heartbreaking statements to the court, Ms Dees and Stanley's father Andy Metcalf spoke of their heartache and described how their family had been torn apart.

Ms Dees said: "Not once has my granddad said sorry.

"The day of Stanley's death I felt sorry for him knowing he had to live with this, but I do not feel sorry for him now.

"A family member said that he told them to tell us that when Jenny and Andy are ready tell them i am ready to see them. How can he expect me to go back there? He had so many chances to come and see me.

"He has not shown any remorse and it is unbelievable."

Defending Grannon, Paul Genney said he admitted he had fired the shot accidentally at Stanley.

Mr Genney said: "He held the rifle and checked by squeezing the trigger to see if it was loaded, whilst pointing the rifle at the unfortunate child, but not deliberately."

"It is a terrible tragedy for this family.

"It's a case if whatever the outcome, the grief of this family will go on for a considerable period, if not forever.

"This man suffers remorse. He blames himself and no one else.

"He was reluctant to communicate with the family at first because he was told it was an ongoing investigation and told it would be inappropriate to get in touch with them."

Grannon previously pleaded guilty to manslaughter and possession of a firearm without a certificate.

Addressing Grannon, Mr Justice Lavender said: "You ended a young life and you brought lifelong grief and misery to his parents and to the whole of his family.

"Tragically, this happened when the family had gathered at your home to mark the fifteenth anniversary of your son.

"July 26 this year will mark the anniversary of two deaths instead of one."

The judge continued: "It it not suggest that you intended to shoot your great-grandson. You were charged with, and have pleaded guilty to manslaughter on the basis your conduct was grossly negligent, as it undoubtedly was.

"No sentence I impose can bring Stanley back. No sentence I impose can undo what you have done and heal the rifts in your family."

Grannon was sentenced to three years for manslaughter.

He was given a four month sentence for the offence of possessing a firearm with a certificate, which will run concurrent to the three year sentence.