Kent

Man guilty of Kent road rage shooting

Image caption Paul Smith claimed he bought the gun to take his own life

A man has been found guilty of shooting a driver in the stomach with a homemade gun during a road rage attack in Kent.

Paul Smith, 46, of Friars Way, Dover, was cleared of the attempted murder of James Saunders but convicted of wounding with intent.

Canterbury Crown Court was told he shot Mr Saunders at point blank range during a confrontation in Alkham Valley Road, in Alkham, near Dover, on 26 October.

Smith admitted possession of a firearm at an earlier hearing.

'Life-changing injuries'

Det Ch Insp Lee Whitehead said: "This was a vicious and unprovoked attack on a man who was enjoying a night out with his girlfriend and a friend.

"The victim has suffered life-changing injuries and the experience of that night will always stay with him.

"Smith was driving erratically and when Mr Saunders remonstrated with him, he lost his temper and shot him.

Image caption James Saunders had to have part of his bowel removed after the shooting

The court heard that Smith, who said he was heavily depressed and suicidal, claimed to have bought the homemade weapon to take his own life.

Kent Police said Smith handed himself into Folkestone police station on 4 November and told officers: "I shot him, I didn't mean to."

Mr Saunders had part of his bowel removed during surgery at the William Harvey Hospital, Ashford, following the attack.

Smith, also known as Andrew Bywater, who had denied both charges, is due to be sentenced on 27 August.

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