Peter Colwell shotgun car death 'criminally stupid'

Peter Colwell
Image caption Peter Colwell was killed instantly when the shotgun went off

Two gamekeepers accused of killing a teenager when a shotgun went off in a car were "criminally stupid", a court has heard.

Peter Colwell was shot in February 2017 in the car park of the Ship Inn pub in Llanbedrog, near Pwllheli in Gwynedd.

Prosecutor Patrick Harrington said the semi-automatic shotgun was owned by Ben Wilson, 29, and was accidentally discharged by Ben Fitzsimons, 23.

Both men deny manslaughter at Caernarfon Crown Court.

Opening the trial, Mr Harrington said Mr Colwell, 18, died because of the "cavalier disregard of the fundamental rules of gun safety" by the two defendants.

The court heard that the pair had spent the Saturday night drinking with Mr Colwell and two others, travelling between pubs in a Land Rover.

Mr Harrington told the jury that Mr Wilson's loaded shotgun was being stored in the footwell of the 4x4, with the muzzle pointing back towards the rear of the vehicle.

Shortly after midnight, they left the Ship Inn and returned to Mr Wilson's Land Rover.

Mr Fitzsimons was in the front passenger seat, with Peter Colwell sat in the middle rear seat of the vehicle, while they waited for driver Mr Wilson.

"They'd had a good drink," Mr Harrington told the jury.

"Within a very short time the gun was discharged."

He said Mr Colwell was killed "instantly" by a shot to the head.

Image caption The shooting happened in the car park of the Ship Inn at Llanbedrog, Gwynedd

The jury was told that the killing was neither deliberate or malicious.

But Mr Harrington added: "What they did was so grossly negligent that it became a criminal offence.

"It was criminally stupid."

The weapon should never have been carried loaded or be in the front of the vehicle, he said.

He also told the jury that the safety mechanism to prevent it from being fired was in an off position at the time.

The trial is expected to last about three weeks.

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