Wales

Fraudster Phillip Morris jailed after shooting himself

Philip Morris
Image caption Fraudster Philip Morris admitted four other scams where he injured himself

An insurance fraudster who shot himself in the chest as part of string of scams has been jailed for six-and-a-half years at Caernarfon Crown Court.

Philip Morris, 46, from Corwen, Denbighshire, needed an emergency operation to remove a bullet after the incident last year.

It sparked a major police hunt, until Morris confessed he was the gunman.

He pleaded guilty to perverting justice, four other insurance frauds and possessing an illegal firearm.

The insurance scams dating back to 1995 began to unravel when an ambulance was called to an area near a hotel in Llangollen on 19 May, 2010.

Morris was discovered with a bullet wound to his right shoulder and chest.

He claimed he had been shot by an unknown assailant as he stood by his vehicle close to the Chainbridge Hotel.

A modified .22 rifle was recovered nearby.

In response, North Wales Police treated the shooting as an attempted murder case, launching a major operation that involved detectives, firearms officers and the police helicopter.

Morris needed surgery to remove the bullet and spent several days in the high dependency unit at Wrexham's Maelor Hospital.

It was there that he finally confessed to police that he had shot himself with the antique rifle that he had acquired at a car boot sale.

But initially he claimed that the shooting was a failed attempt to take his own life, and he had made up the gunman story out of embarrassment.

Self-inflicted injuries

But Elen Owen, prosecuting, told the court that police became suspicious of Morris's story after they examined his background.

Jailing Morris, Judge Merfyn Hughes QC told him: "You were very lucky indeed to have survived what was a life-threatening injury.

"The clear purpose of what you did that day would appear to be primarily to obtain compensation but also to attract attention to yourself."

Commenting on the sentence, Ch Insp Iestyn Davies said: "The actions of Philip Morris on the 19 May led to a significant policing response at substantial cost.

"He only admitted to the injury being self inflicted when he realised the nature of our response to the incident.

"In the meantime significant steps had been taken to reassure the public of Llangollen and beyond including increased high visibility patrols.

"Incidents of this nature are extremely rare in north Wales. His sentence today recognises the seriousness of these offences."