Shotgun attacker had ‘no remorse’ after shooting former neighbour in leg on Holme Wood estate (From Bradford Telegraph and Argus)
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‘Cowardly’ neighbour Robert Whelan fled to Ireland after shooting on Bradford's Holme Wood estate
A 31-year-old man who blasted a father-of-six in the leg with a shotgun was told by a judge he had not expressed “one drop of remorse” as he was jailed for more than eight years.
Robert Whelan, who fled the country to live in his native Ireland for five years after he was charged, was convicted by a jury earlier this month of having a firearm to commit an indictable offence and causing Brian Jackson grievous bodily harm in the early hours of New Year’s Day, 2007.
The dad-of-two was extradited to face the charges and, sentencing him at Bradford Crown Court yesterday, Judge Robert Bartfield branded him “cowardly” for going on the run.
He told him: “I’m satisfied you had no intention of coming back to face your trial and you were as cowardly in doing that as you were in shooting that man that night in that matter.”
In a previous hearing, prosecutor John Topham said Mr Jackson was left permanently disabled when he was hit in the right shin with a shotgun at close range on the path of his then home in Grayswood Crescent after an “ongoing feud” on the Holme Wood estate.
In a victim impact statement, read to the court yesterday, Mr Topham said Mr Jackson’s life had “changed dramatically” and could face having his leg amputated after contracting a number of infections.
“He doesn’t sleep well and has nightmares about being shot,” Mr Topham said. When out in public at night he is frightened that someone will want to do him some harm.”
Rodney Ferm, mitigating, said Whelan was a man who had built a life for him and his family in Ireland and planned to return there “in due course”. He told the judge the firearm had not belonged to him and he had been “recruited” into a feud that was not his concern.
Whelan, then of Greyswood Crescent, was cleared by the jury of the graver offences of having a firearm with intent to cause grievous bodily harm and wounding Mr Jackson with intent to do him grievous bodily harm.
But he was handed an eight-year prison sentence for having a firearm to commit and indictable offence, a concurrent five-year sentence for causing Mr Jackson grievous bodily harm, with a consecutive ten months for failing to surrender to bail.
Judge Bartfield said: “You have not expressed one drop of remorse for what you have done to this man.”
Speaking outside court, investigating officer Detective Constable Andy Doody said: “Whelan was prepared to use potentially deadly force to resolve a family-related dispute, however, such behaviour will never be accepted nor tolerated.”