Shaun Michael King outside Rockhampton Magistrates Court in March this year for his committal hearing.
Shaun Michael King outside Rockhampton Magistrates Court in March this year for his committal hearing. Kathryn Greensill

Self defence or vicious attack? Vote now

AS an axe sliced through the front door like a knife through butter, Shaun Michael King looked around for a weapon - any weapon.

Brian Eric Wells continued his assault on the door to get inside the Depot Hill house, screaming he would slice King to pieces.

High on morphine, King grabbed a 22 bolt-action rifle and threatened to shoot Wells through the window.

Laughing at the threat, Wells plunged toward the open window at the 20-year-old with the axe when the gun discharged and Wells was shot in the neck.

The September 2009 incident left Wells, now 40, a paraplegic, and earned King a jail term.

King yesterday pleaded guilty to grievous bodily harm in the Supreme Court in Rockhampton.

Crown Prosecutor Joshua Phillips said the bullet sliced through Wells' skin and lodged in his vertebrae.

In a victim impact statement tendered to the court, Wells detailed how he would be forced to remain on medication and need daily care for the rest of his life.

He said he had sunk into depression after he was forced to move away from his children and into his parents' home to be cared for.

The court heard Wells' attack was spurred by his belief King had interrupted his supply of cannabis.

During the incident King and a woman barricaded in the house with him, Trish Steel, were unable to deter Wells by telling him they had called the police and attempting to hit him with a baseball bat.

King's defence solicitor, Jeff Clarke, said his client had been addicted to drugs, he weighed only 45kg at the time of the incident, and had injected himself with morphine that day.

Mr Clarke said since the attack King had stopped taking drugs and had found employment at a store in Gladstone.

Justice Duncan McMeekin said King's employer spoke very highly of him in a letter he wrote that was tendered to the court by Mr Clarke.

Mr Clarke said King was remorseful and had no intention of permanently injuring Wells.

Police said the rifle could be discharged without the manipulation of the trigger.

The court heard King's father was a cannabis-user and when King returned to his father's care at 13, after being in foster care, he tried the drug for the first time.

Justice McMeekin said King did nothing to bring the attack upon himself, but the court was determined to deter people from using guns to resolve disputes.

King was sentenced to three years in jail, suspended after six months, with a parole release date of February 24, 2012, because he has already spent three months in custody.



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